- The Minnesota teen offers free virtual sessions to kids of all ages at ConneXions Tutoring, a platform she created with two friends.
Ankitha Kumar of Inver Groves Heights, Minnesota is among People magazine’s ‘Teens Changing the World in 2021,’ which recognizes 10 young men and women who are “improving lives in their schools, communities and beyond.”
For three years prior to the pandemic, Kumar, 18, had tutored children at the Good Neighbor Center, a facility that provides underserved youth with a meal and a safe space for academic support. But in March of 2020, the center had to close temporarily because of the virus.
That’s when the teen began receiving frantic texts from students she helped at the tutoring center. Online courses were confusing, so the high school senior decided to offer free virtual sessions to kids of all ages. Overwhelmed with requests, she and two friends launched ConneXions Tutoring, specializing in general coursework, ACT prep and scholarship search assistance. Now with 17 volunteers, Kumar has worked with 365 students in all 50 states and 12 countries. “I love watching them have an aha moment when a concept clicks,”Kumar told People.
This fall Kumar will attend Emory University and remain an adviser to ConneXions, which will continue virtual sessions post-pandemic. “It makes me happy that I’ve been able to be a part of their journey,” she said
Earlier in February, Kumar was named one of Minnesota’s top youth volunteers of 2021 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, America’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer service.
(Top photo: Ankitha Kumar 18 of Inver Grove, Minnesota started a tutoring organization. The child in the photo is model released but her name cannot be printed. December 17th 2019 at the Good Neighbor Center in St. Paul. Credit: Courtesy Ankitha Kumar)