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Teen starts free online tutoring service to help kids struggling with remote learning

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In Fresno, Calif., high school junior Jai Mehrotra-Varma is helping others during this ongoing pandemic the only way he knows how -- through his love of learning. After the coronavirus closed schools in mid-March, Mehrotra-Varma decided to take his face-to-face tutoring online. The 17-year-old spoke to Fox News about his free tutoring service, Tutor Nirvana.

“There are lots of tutors available, but some of them, you know, are too expensive. And so we didn't want to limit kids who maybe weren't able to afford that. We wanted this to especially be a resource for them,” Jai Mehrotra-Varma told Fox News.

Mehrotra-Varma has been volunteering as a tutor after school for years. Earlier this year, he reached out to some friends about creating a platform to make it easier for students and tutors to connect. On Tutor Nirvana’s website, students can log on and choose the course they need help with. Aspiring tutors can also sign up online and have their credentials reviewed before joining the team. While they considered monetizing their services at first, ultimately Mehrotra-Varma and his friends did not want to deprive struggling kids from receiving help because they couldn’t afford it.

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Since making the switch to remote tutoring, Jai says they have seen a big increase in the number of students and parents reaching out to them for help.

“We're really getting a lot of increased demand and kids asking for help and parents as well especially because we've noticed that a lot of parents are, you know, struggling to help their kids who may be struggling as a result of not being able to go to school,” Mehrotra-Varma explained.

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Tutor Nirvana has already expanded beyond its community in Fresno,  and Mehrotra-Varma is hoping the platform will continue to grow, recruiting more tutors and students from other states. Currently, over 20 students volunteer as tutors for Tutor Nirvana, and they'd like to add teachers throughout the Central Valley to the list as well.

"We've been able to reach out to so many schools and make that impact in so short of a time. We definitely want to continue the virtual online tutoring after the outbreak gets better and hopefully reach out to other states,” said Mehrotra-Varma.

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For Mehrotra-Varma and his friends, tutoring is all about sharing their love of learning with others. While he has aspirations of being a doctor one day, he sees himself continuing to teach in some capacity for many years to come.

“We don't really consider it a job for us," he said. "It's really a pleasure for us to help other students and that we're making an impact, especially during these times.”