LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted families in a number of difficult ways, from the loss of loved ones to unemployment and the challenges of learning how to educate children from home.
But 17-year-olds Sarah Shapiro and Skye Loventhal did not let the quarantine stop them from pursuing their studies and coming up with a strategy to help others.
“I mean, we have all this free time now, so we might as well use it to make a difference in the world,” Shapiro said.
The two highly-driven juniors from Granada Hills Charter School created a website called The COVID nineTEEN Project, recruiting nearly 100 tutors to mentor nearly 300 kids in first through fifth grades across the globe.
“And I think that making it free makes it a lot more accessible to a lot of parents who aren’t working right now,” Loventhal said.
And while the free service offers tutoring in math, English, science and history — in 14 languages — volunteers also keep kids busy with dozens of activities like coding and yoga.
Activities are offered from 3-6 p.m. on weekdays and 9-5 p.m. on weekends, but when summer hits, the project will transform into an online summer camp that will operate every single day and be run entirely be teenage volunteers.
“I really just want people to see that there are people from our generation who are truly passionate about advocacy, helping people and making a difference in this world,” Loventhal said.
“We just want to serve as a form of guidance for these kids, be a mentor for them during these times,” Shapiro added.
Both Loventhal and Shapiro are daughters of educators and are well-versed in planning and developing curriculum. And other than some legal advice from adults, The COVID nineTEEN Project is run entirely be teens who offer their services for free.