Brett Mozarsky ’21 Launches Free Tutoring Service for Children of Healthcare Workers
His Free for the Frontlines Tutors, begun in March as schools shut down due to COVID-19, uses fellow Ford volunteers to remotely help high school and middle school students with their virtual coursework.
When schools across the country—including Haverford—ceased in-person instruction in early March 2020 due to the novel coronavirus, Brett Mozarsky worried about younger students in high school and middle school forced to manage their education virtually. The rising senior chemistry major was particularly worried about the children of healthcare workers, whose busy parents were employed around the clock to manage a growing pandemic, unable to be home to manage their kids’ virtual learning.
“[Those kids] lost not only access to books and teachers, but also academic help from their busy parents who were working overtime in hospitals and other medical facilities,” said the Westchester County-based Mozarsky. “These people were so busy, working tirelessly to ensure the public’s health, safety, and protection, that they were not likely to be as available to help their own children as they normally would be. I really wanted to find a way to give back to all of these amazing people and their families.”
At Haverford, Mozarsky had been a part of the Peer-Led Team-Learning Program in the Chemistry Department, in which students teach each other through a system of discussion-based problem solving. His experience as a tutor, he thought, could be a useful skill for these families of front line workers. Thus, Free for the Frontlines Tutors was born.
He was determined that his tutoring service, first offered via an emailed flyer to administrators at New York hospitals overrun with COVID cases, would be free of charge, rallying friends at Haverford to donate their time and expertise to tutoring students remotely.
His tutors initially offered help in seven subjects—biology, chemistry, English, history, math, physics, and Spanish—though they have expanded to include earth sciences and test preparation as well. Mozarsky hopes that they will keep adding subjects so that students can receive help for any class for which they require it. By mid-June, Free for the Frontlines Tutors included 30 college student tutors—mostly fellow Fords, thanks to the recruitment efforts of Pre-Health Advisor Jodi Domsky—and expanded its geographic reach to include students up and down the Acela corridor and as far away as California and Florida.
“In truth, we were able to go from idea to action so quickly because of our amazing team of student-tutors,” said Mozarsky. “Though our group was initially small, we have grown over time to meet the demand of all of our prospective tutees. Every member of this team is incredibly knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and kind-hearted. Without their willingness to take initiative and help out, we would not have been able to provide tutoring services at all.”
Though his initial tutees were sourced from outreach to hospitals, clinics, and emergency service providers, Mozarsky is cognizant that front line workers span professions from grocery clerks and farmhands to delivery drivers and restaurant kitchen staff. He is, therefore, eager to expand the reach of Free for the Frontlines Tutors to the children of all of America’s essential employees.
“We want to make our services accessible to all front line workers who have made tremendous sacrifices to protect us from COVID-19 and to keep us going throughout this pandemic,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will be working on expanding our outreach to other front line workers, as well as improving our availability to marginalized communities.”
Despite the fact that Mozarsky and his Haverford tutors are heading back to their own classrooms shortly for the fall semester, they are committed to continuing and expanding Free for the Frontlines’ services during the upcoming school year when so many children will be attending middle and high schools remotely.
The fact that Mozarsky’s endeavor include so many tutors from his own college is not a coincidence. He started Free for the Frontlines with the hopes of building a community between Haverford students and front line workers—something he is proud to have started.
“The amount of support and interest from Haverford students has been amazing, and I hope that we will continue to see more Haverford students join us,” he said. “I am just so grateful to be a part of Haverford’s engaged and determined community, which consistently demonstrates its ability to be a positive force in the world.”