By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Aiming to provide students with opportunities for enriched learning through the pandemic, Highlands resident Hope Shinderman, 16, created Bored of Boredom, a student-run free online class and tutoring service, as Stay at Home orders went into place.
Hope shared she wants to reach underserved communities and younger students—those who may have received homework packets instead of taking virtual classes. She shared that she wants to help close the digital divide, so that more students could have access to online learning
“We’re a dedicated group of people, and we just wanted to help as many people as we can,” Hope told the Palisadian-Post.
Through Bored of Boredom, “students provide individual and group classes to ensure that children remain intellectually stimulated (for free) during this unprecedented time,” Hope’s father, Mark, explained in an email to the Post. “All of BoB is student created, run and managed.”
“Bored of Boredom provides free individual and group enrichment opportunities in both academic and non-academic subjects,” according to the BoB website. “We give learning opportunities to all, especially those who are receiving minimal to no remote schooling.”
Hope shared that her inspiration came a few days before spring break, while she was sitting around after her classes had ended for the day. She explained that she began to think about what kids who were not receiving adequate education were doing, and she came up with an idea of how to occupy preschoolers up to eighth grade.
“I thought, ‘What if we came up with this program that we could offer daily classes and tutoring to keep people engaged?’” Hope said.
Hope, a rising senior at Harvard-Westlake School, recruited her closest classmates during the second half of her junior year to join her, and she put together a team of about five student teachers.
Soon the demand was so great, they realized they needed more help. With assistance from various people in her life—including Nia Kilgore, a dean at Harvard-Westlake who enlisted the other eight dean teams, co-participants in the West LA Mayor’s Youth Council, and friends and family—BoB rapidly snowballed into more than 100 student volunteers within days.
The organization now has a continuously growing community of more than 150 dedicated teen volunteers from public and private schools across the country, with plans to expand to offer classes and a lecture series to high school students now that AP exams are over.
Palisadian volunteers include Alice Hanscom, Arya Naeim, Eliana Makhani, Julia Kowalski, Kalea Martin, Kyla Phiri, Lauren Zaidel, Lily Gong, Rachel Hachamovitch, Sadie Kaufman, Samantha Yawitz, Kageyama, Selene Lam, Sydney Savarese and Tobias Scott.
BoB currently serves more than 300 students from preschool to high school, benefiting from unique and engaging enrichment classes and summer activities, in addition to more structured academic tutoring and subject support.
Classes include the basics of programming, great women in history, counting change, storytime, dance, drawing and more.
“The majority of volunteers attend HW, Pali or Viewpoint School,” Hope shared. “We also have volunteers from Santa Monica High, Areté Preparatory Academy, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Marlborough School and Brentwood School.”
“I think it’s great. It’s created this army of volunteers from both public and private schools, and not all of them had met each other before,” Hope’s mother, Jill, shared with the Post.
The board consists of original members Palisadian Greta Zumbrunnen, Katarina Cheng, Yvette Copeland, Katherine Kihiczak and Hope. Their social media director is Palisades Charter High School student Sarah Kageyama.
“BoB is an absolutely extraordinary organization,” Kageyama said. “I cannot express how wonderful it is to see a child’s face light up when they learn something new. Through this program, I’ve definitely gained an even greater appreciation for the teachers in my life.”
One-on-one tutoring for a range of subjects is also available through BoB upon request, free of charge. All of the tutors are trained by others in the group; there are team building and best practices sessions, Mark added.
For those who are able to contribute, Bored of Boredom asks families who benefit from the programming to give a donation, which BoB passes along to a children’s charity that helps other students to get online.
“Each little bit helps us do good in other people’s lives, especially during a time when so many are affected by this lockdown,” VP Arts Education and Art Department Head Zumbrunnen, an El Medio Bluffs resident and rising senior at Harvard-Westlake, shared with the Post.
BoB has raised more than $7,000 since fundraising began and produced its first virtual benefit concert on June 12 on YouTube Live, with more than two dozen LA-based student bands and a few solo acts volunteering to perform. Each performer followed their set with an audience chat and Q&A. The event garnered over 750 views.
The money raised from the charity concert will be donated to Para Los Niños, Close the Gap and One Laptop per Child.
“We are raising money so we can pass it on to these organizations, so they can give online access to people who don’t have laptops,” Hope added.
Two volunteer tutors, Palisadian Lily Gong and Ella Good, are running a BoB bake sale for the local community. Orders for brownies, blondies, cookies, cake, cupcakes and donuts began June 1 with no definite end point. Those who are interested can Venmo a donation, and volunteers will make the order and deliver to those in proximity to the Palisades.
As for the future of BoB beyond the pandemic? A team of volunteers is working on registering it as a nonprofit.
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