Huntington student creates tutoring program for charity

Huntington student creates tutoring program for charity

Noah Helburn wants to use FaceTime and Skype to tutor kids. Photo from Noah Helburn

One Huntington student is trying to make a splash in his new community, after moving there this past summer, by starting a tutoring program to raise money for a local charity.

Noah Helburn, 16, traveled from South Salem in Massachusetts to the Huntington School District, and said he wanted to find a passion project that could help him get to know his new home better.

“I wanted to do something meaningful with my limited free time to benefit my new community,” he said in a phone interview.

So Helburn decided to start with what he knew: tutoring. He had been part of a tutoring club at his old high school, and wanted to start a similar program in his new community.

The high school junior said he has always enjoyed tutoring. “I like seeing kids succeed,” he said. “It’s a team effort and I feel very proud of the kids I’ve helped when I see them achieve their grades.”

But Helburn wanted to combine his fondness for tutoring with another angle.

“I wanted to do something that helped my community while also getting kids better grades, so I researched local charities to see which one I could work with,” he said.

He discovered Toys of Hope, a Huntington nonprofit organization that sponsors kids and families throughout the year, distributes toys during the holidays for needy families and more.

“I reached out to them and they loved the idea,” Helburn said. And thus Tutoring For a Cause was born. The plan didn’t come without bumps in the road. He said he was surprised with how many logistical problems he ran into trying to get his tutoring program off the ground. First he had trouble securing a location, then when he tried to create a club at Huntington High School, transportation of himself and the kids, insurance and liability became other issues he couldn’t seem to solve.

“So then this idea of video tutoring came to me,” Helburn said. “Kids don’t have to leave their home, and I can offer the same quality of help through the screen. It works easier because now no one has to go anywhere to get tutoring.”

Tutoring For a Cause is offered for students in third to eighth grade in science, math or social studies. “My plan is to video tutor students in the Huntington area via Skype and FaceTime,” he said. “By video tutoring, it eliminates all the issues I’ve run into this past year with finding a space and advisor, logistics and insurance, etc.”

Ronald Feuchs, a family friend from back home in Massachusetts who is helping Helburn get his idea off the ground, praised the 16-year-old’s drive. “Noah’s persistence and desire to make a positive impact on his new community are impressive,” he said in an email. “He is the kind of person that is determined to make a difference wherever he is, whether it be in his new hometown or a college campus.”

But Helburn is still looking for ways to get his message out and find more students in need of tutoring.

“As the school year is winding down and finals will soon be upon us, this is the perfect time to help students at a time and place that is most convenient for them and their families,” he said. “I am asking for a suggested tax deductible donation to Toys of Hope of $10 to $20 per video session, but families are free to donate whatever amount they feel comfortable with directly to Toys of Hope.”

Those interested in using the Tutoring For a Cause program can email [email protected] or call 914-413-5710.