NEW YORK — The pandemic has transformed the way so many students are learning this year and additional, help like having a tutor available throughout the school year, may be out of reach for many families in the city.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking to change that in her district.
For both of Martha Almanzar's young boys who attend a public school in the Bronx online learning has been a struggle.
Almanzar, who is a Spanish speaker, struggles at times to understand some of the homework assigned to her children
“For many Hispanic mothers it's hard to help your kids,” Almanzar said in Spanish.
But now, a homework helper program set up by Ocasio-Cortez is helping these families by providing free weekly online tutoring sessions.
“The tutors speak English and Spanish, so they can help us understand the assignments and help our children with their homework,” Almanzar said.
Some 1,300 people have signed up to volunteer. The tutors are vetted and receive some training before being matched with a student.
"Just to give them that one-on-one attention is great," said Amanda Turcios, a volunteer. "When I was younger I always needed that one-on-one attention and now it's just hard because we're not physically together."
As families in wealthier districts have been able to pool resources together for things like learning pods or are able to hire expensive tutors, many families in the 14th congressional district can't.
"Parents are struggling and being able to help someone with their homework, one on one support is incredibly valuable," said Jonathan Soto, who is an organizer for the program. "A lot of students that are flourishing are those that have access to the pod set up they have resources but it's inherently exclusive"
The homework helper program provides free weekly sessions to eligible students.
The program is open to students in the 14th congressional district.