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Since schools closed across the state, students have faced myriad challenges adapting to the new educational paradigm. A particularly acute problem with the move to online classes is the lack of one-on-one time for students. Enter Santa Barbara Sunshine Tutors.
Founded by Cate School sophomore Lesley Drucker, the program provides free tutoring to K-8th graders. Drucker feels strongly that tutoring is an important piece of the education puzzle that has been missing since lockdown. “The education of all these students shouldn’t be put on hold,” she said. Drucker got the idea to start Santa Barbara Sunshine tutors after her little sister came to her for help with her math homework. “That’s when I realized that not every kid has an older sibling who could help when they were struggling.” According to Drucker, many parents are confused about the $0 price tag, but she insists that it is as simple as students doing what they can to help other students.
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Through a network of tutors — who hail from Santa Barbara High, San Marcos High, Middle College @ SBCC, and Cate School — the group offers hour-long tutoring sessions every day in subjects ranging from physics to U.S. history. Sunshine Tutors was originally staffed with Drucker’s circle of friends, but has since grown, as more people have reached out to help.
Drucker enjoys working with the kids she tutors, who range from 2nd to 8th grade. While she sees herself as a teacher, she also feels it is important for her to provide the kind of peer-level assistance that has been missing since schools closed. Though high school graduation is several years away still for Drucker, she hopes to take her joy for helping young people and apply it in the fields of teaching or pediatrics.