AV Junior Tasha Laberge starts tutoring system on Nextdoor


Tasha Laberge

“It’s great, because we have some families that are genuinely in need, and they really need that help. And it’s really great to know that you’re helping someone, especially because it’s in our local community,” said Sahana Kumar, co-organizer of The Sunshine Project.

Sunny Liu, Soumya Sahay, and Sharan Robinson

The most glaring influence that COVID-19 has on students is that school is all online. Students sit in front of screens to learn instead of attending physical classes. For AV Junior Tasha Laberge, online learning had realized how overwhelming it could be for children and parents alike.

“I’ve always been talking to my parents like how school’s  been going through all of this I’m like, it’s so like hard for me online learning and like I can’t imagine what it’s like for younger kids especially like parents who like have like a full time job and like all there’s so many the more people I talked to the like crazier it gets.” says Laberge.

Laberge decided to reach out through Nextdoor, a social networking service for neighborhoods, and asked if anyone in elementary or middle school was interested in being tutored for free. To her surprise, more and more people began to reply.

“I literally thought like two people were gonna respond. And it was like, overwhelming. Like, my DMs on next door were like blowing up. And I have like so many messages,” said Laberge

Laberge had been working with her friend Emme (last name), but after sorting through the people that wanted to be tutored, Laberge realized that it would take more than the two of them to get through to all the people.

“Oh, my God, even more people started reaching out to me. We had like 20 requests. And I was like ‘Emme if we both do two people this isn’t going to work’. You need to reach out to someone you know, or whatever.’ And then to the next person we reached out to was Lois (last name),” Laberge recounts.

So far, Laberge has recruited 12 tutors total to help manage the work. They have established a name for their tutoring organization and have cleverly called themselves the Sunshine Tutoring Project. Laberge decided on the name in order to reflect the energy she would like to give.

“I wanted to have a bright influence and influence on those around me. And like, just really help people and stuff. And like, I feel like sunshine, like the Sun is just like, it’s so bright and warming. So then we did the sunshine tutoring project,” Laberge said on their organization’s name.

Now, the Sunshine Tutoring Project has begun to expand its services. They hope to help more students and have been publicizing their organization through social media and flyers.

“We also have an email so I just last night made a flyer for like tutors needed but I’ll probably make one for like, if anyone needs tutoring, and then just like email or email or make a Google form. But then, people started getting it literally from Dublin and stuff,” said Laberge.

The Sunshine Tutoring Project aims to extend their hand in helping students in order to give a little back to their community. Laberge understood how difficult it was to deal with online learning and so created her own way to spread kindness and a way to help. 

“The more people I would talk to, the more difficult their situations are. Some people with special needs children or like full time jobs, it’s crazy. I have no idea how they’re even doing it now. I mean, it’s such an, to me, it’s like such a simple thing. I just have to reach out to a few people, and then they get free tutoring. It’s just such a small thing we can do, you know,” said Laberge.

A word from Sahana Kumar, co-founder:

“Pleasanton kids have to acknowledge their privilege. So, Tasha came to me with this idea. And she’s like, ‘Hey, I was thinking of tutoring a couple people who need it. And I was wondering if you wanted to help?’ And I was like, Oh, yeah, for sure. I also happen to have a Nextdoor and not many teens do, so I put it on my next door; and we got so many requests!  So, then we were like, we definitely need to expand this. We had to get a really big group going and we still need many more tutors, by the way. It’s honestly helpful for elementary school, and middle school kids who just need a couple hours of help. And for most of them, it’s homework help, because they’re having trouble concentrating, or just don’t understand a concept. And I think that those are really, really important things that can’t be taught right now. So yeah, that’s the goal,” said Sahana Kumar (’21). 

Currently, the Sunshine Project is in need of tutors, as they are trying to expand their team to reach as many students in need as possible. If you are interested in tutoring subjects to elementary and middle school level students, please respond to their Next-door request.