Westchester teen creates nonprofit to help students succeed

The world may be crazy right now, but teens like Westchester resident Sophia Scott have stepped up to the challenge and are seamlessly adapting to create solutions.

Sophia, a 16-year old senior at Marymount High School, created Quaranteens, a pending nonprofit organization established to reduce socioeconomic disparities in education.

“The transition to online learning was pretty smooth for me. My teachers made themselves readily available and it was such an easy switch. But I started hearing from a lot of other students that they were falling behind and weren’t necessarily retaining things as well through distance learning. I realized that it must be a lot more difficult for those students who lack access to a lot of the same resources I had,” said Sophia.

Sophia then built a website and recruited several of her friends and their siblings as tutors.

“I came to them with the idea of starting a nonprofit to help kids get back on track since I know quarantine was hard for a lot of kids. My parents were super supportive of my idea. They let me take the reins and run with it,” she said.

Most of her colleagues have experience as writing tutors in high school, but all of it was person-to-person, so they weren’t quite sure how successful they would be on a computer.

“At first, we were a little nervous about how tutoring would work through Zoom. But it’s been so helpful to use a lot of the features that Zoom has, like screen sharing. When writing an essay, we can see exactly what the student has written and we can annotate that right on the screen so they know exactly what we’re looking at,” Sophia said.

Quaranteens offers tutoring and test prep in all subjects, for students from kindergarten to 12th grade, at no cost. After getting exposure on social media and local news, their services have expanded from Westchester and the local area to throughout the U.S.

“Our program is really targeted toward children from low income communities who lack access, but we’re definitely open to serving anyone who needs help,” Sophia said.

Sophia and her all-female team of tutors are planning to continue Quaranteens even after the quarantine has lifted and kids can go back into the classroom.

“We’re committed to distance sessions because we find it’s a lot better to reach people across the country,” she said. “I think the virtual learning aspect is what we’re really focused on. The name will continue as a remembrance of how we originated.”

As news spreads about the tutors, more people have reached out to offer their services.

“We’re planning on adding more tutors as we expand. Once we feel like we’re getting a little overwhelmed, then we’re going to branch out so we can serve more kids in need at the same time,” she said.

Besides running Quaranteens and maintaining their website, Sophia is also editor-in-chief of The Anchor, her school newspaper, Secretary-General (President) of the school’s Model United Nations program, and head of the Diversity Board at Marymount.

Learn and sign-up for tutoring at sophiacscott.wixsite.com/quaranteens-tutoring.

Posted July 2020.

By Consuelo Israelson.