Ann Arbor high school student starts free tutoring program for kids K-8

A2tor offers virtual lessons for kids, and volunteering opportunities for high schoolers.

How to make sure a tutor is safe to bring into your home with many Michigan schools going virtual
How to make sure a tutor is safe to bring into your home with many Michigan schools going virtual

Ann Arbor Skyline senior Amelia Hatcher-Kay was interested in volunteering as a tutor, but couldn’t find a program that worked for her. Now, she’s the founding director of a new tutoring organization called A2tor.

“(The other programs) charged kids, required I be graduated from high school, or had super limited hours,” Hatcher-Kay said. “I figured if it was hard for me to find chances to volunteer, then it would be harder for students who need it to find it.”

A2tor got started when Hatcher-Kay brought the proposal to the Ann Arbor school district in May. The school district wasn’t able to hear the proposal quickly, so Hatcher-Kay worked with some friends to get the program up and running independently.

“The pandemic hit, high schoolers had all kinds of free time, and educational disparities were widening for families at home,” Hatcher-Kay said. “I thought, we should create a program that allows high school students to help the community.”

The program offers free virtual tutoring to students K-8 in Washtenaw County. They have group lessons in basic mental math for elementary schoolers, art groups, reading groups, and homework groups, including homework groups for native Spanish speakers.

In addition to group lessons, they also offer one-on-one tutoring, but due to limited availability, are currently only offering them to families that would be unable to access paid tutoring elsewhere.

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While A2tor is in the process of becoming strategic partners with the Ann Arbor school district, it’s still accepting students and tutors from all across Washtenaw County.

High school students looking to volunteer apply through A2tor, then receive program and safety training, including instruction from a professional social worker, before starting tutoring.

More than just tutoring, Hatcher-Kay hopes A2tor is able to give students a sense of community during virtual instruction.

“For both (tutors and students) a big thing is connection, and feeling like a part of something when so many people feel isolated. Younger students are given a mentor to look up to, and older kids have someone to help.”

A2tor now has over 30 mentors, and Hatcher-Kay says that new students and tutors are welcome.

“We’d love to have as many people as possible! To Anyone who wants to reach out, we’d love to hear from them.”

Anyone looking to apply or enroll can find A2tors at its website here.