This fall, after-school tutoring at the Friendly Center is going to look a little different than usual. While tutors—work-study students from Chapman University—will still come into the center, their study sessions with local elementary school students will all take place over the computer. It’s a solution that allows Friendly Center to keep providing a valuable service to the community while helping to keep everyone healthy amid the pandemic.

“Our families really rely on this program.” says Arian Ghiacy, Director of Development for the Friendly Center. “Many of our parents can’t help their kids with their homework, even just simple homework. That’s why they like sending their kids here, so they can get that help. Parents want their kids to succeed and do better.”

Program coordinators at the Friendly Center anticipate that the need for tutoring help might be even greater than usual this year, while school is remote. “From what I understand,” says Arian, “time in their regular school classes is going to be limited and it’s going to be a lot different. They may not have the opportunity to ask all those questions that they might normally ask.”

In a small tutoring session, it’s easier to ask direct questions and get immediate help than it is in a class of 30, especially when faced with technical issues.

Workstations at the center, each with a camera and computer for Zoom calls, have been set up according to safe physical distancing guidelines. The center plans to maintain the same 4-1 student-to-tutor ratio as their in-person tutoring sessions, ensuring that each student gets the
time and attention they need. They expect to be able to offer tutoring to as many as 50 students from underserved families in the Orange Unified School District.

Alisa Driscoll, Interim Vice President of Community Relations, says, “Friendly Center is one of our longest-standing community partners. We’re thrilled that the team at Friendly Center was able to quickly adapt so that our students can continue to offer vital tutoring services for families living in our community.”