ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Valley State University is continuing to offer educational support for K-12 students across the state with a program it launched at the start of the pandemic. 

The program was launched as a way to help kids when schools were shut down, with volunteers providing free one-on-one virtual homework help. It eventually became known as K-12 Connect.

“I think the need was always there, but COVID kind of like put a big spotlight on that need and so it pushed us to create this program and get started and work to support our students in our community,” program lead Amirah Vosburgh said.

So far, more than 2,400 kids have taken advantage of the program. Because it’s been so successful, K-12 Connect announced it would be expanding, offering a reading program and ‘homework help plus,’ which allows schools to purchase hours so their students are guaranteed a tutor.

Dani Stover, who has been a volunteer tutor since the fall of 2020, said she has already seen how much it has helped her students. 

“There’s been a couple students I’ve had that have come back to me after a couple tutoring sessions and they’re like, ‘I got an A on my quiz’ or whatever it is, so it’s like the best feeling ever to know that I could help with that,” Stover said. 

She added that though many kids fell behind when in-person learning was not happening, they have a desire to get caught back up.

Stover is studying to be a high school teacher, so not only is K-12 Connect giving her the much-needed experience, it is also allowing her to give back to the community. 

One of the best parts of the program, she believes, is the convenience for both students and tutors, something Vosburgh believes is what makes it so successful.

“There’s opportunities for paid positions, there’s opportunities for volunteering there’s opportunities for all this experience that they really wouldn’t get at another college at this point. We don’t know of many other colleges who are doing a program like this,” Vosburgh said.

Tutoring is available for any K-12 student on a first-come, first-served basis and a student can start at any time during the school year. It can be a one-time session or recurring weekly sessions. Parents can fill out an application online to get their students signed up. Schools also have an option to pay for reserved tutoring hours so that their students are guaranteed a tutor.