ABC7 Solutions: Tutoring with a twist! South LA Ed Center helps fill gap in distance learning

'I don't know what I would do without them.' Students falling behind while distance learning find help, safe space for kids to take supervised on-line classes.
SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Thousands of Southern California students are still distance learning, and with each day many are falling further behind. Some frustrated parents are turning to tutoring -- with a twist: a fun and affordable solution sharpening kids' skills.

Zooming at home for school was a challenge for 11-year-old Trayson Bradford. His single mom, an essential worker, says those early days of the pandemic shut down were brutal on both of them.

"I am still struggling a little bit, but I'm doing a little better," said Bradford.

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"I actually had him at home and I was like, you know what? I'm working all the time and I don't have anybody to supervise you, so let me see if the Ed Center is open," said Sabrina Allen, Trayson's mother.

The Ed Center was open, with COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in place, offering not only affordable one-on-one tutoring, but also a safe space for kids to take supervised online classes in pods.

"They help me with my math and they help me with anything I need help with," said Arianna Anderson.

Like Trayson, 7th grader Arianna is among the hundreds of students who have been tutored at the Ed Center since it opened in 2015.
"A lot of our students that come in have this pre-mindset that tutoring is just terrible and it's the worst place to go to and you'd rather be outside," said Maribel Rosales, Ed Center program director. "But I'm happy to say that a majority if not all of our students love being in this place and love the atmosphere. I can even say -- and parents can vouch -- some of the students just don't want to go home."

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While most Southland schools remain empty during the pandemic, one elementary school is full of students -- but they're not there to attend class.

The Ed Center on Adams Boulevard in South Los Angles is a component of the education-based conservation non-profit "Saving the West Foundation."

Saving the West Foundation CEO Alexandra Warren says her goal is to tackle the disparities in education by making the personalized tutoring so many privileged students get, available to those whose parents can't afford it.

"This is a way to really, really make a difference," said Warren. "The income inequality issue is massive. Sure there's good public schools all over but if you're wealthy, you get to have the individuals that are ensuring you're internalizing the information"

Up until COVID hit, the foundation was also sponsoring summer field trips for inner-city kids to museums, national parks, college campuses and the beach. The pandemic put an end to that for now, but the Ed Center is still offering a solution, and filling the gap in education for those with few options.

"I don't know what I would do without them," said Allen. "A lot of kids need supervision, 'cause they get bored sitting at the computer, looking at the screen. But when I send Trayson to the Ed Center, he sits there and he focuses and I think a lot more kids will succeed if they had more Ed Centers."

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