Login Get News Updates
For local news delivered via email enter address here:
Profile Subscriptions Mobile Tablet
Feature Stories January 23, 2014  RSS feed

Homework Help On The Way

Woodhaven Org. Wants To Spread Free, Online Tutoring
Max Jaeger

A Woodhaven-based startup is looking to bring free tutoring services to the city’s students—over the Internet.

Homework Help Heroes, the brainchild of Woodhaven resident Richard Fogal, will connect tutors and students via the internet, allowing kids with tablets and touch-screen devices to get real-time homework help from volunteers for free.

With an aim to tutor in 12-13 subjects, Fogal is in the process of recruiting teachers, and an informational session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Jan. 30, at the Avenue Diner in Woodhaven. The diner is located at 91-06 Jamaica Ave.

Fogal said Homework Help Heroes is weeks away from securing nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status—something he hopes will attract volunteers to donate their time.’

Currently the program is being funded by Education Extreme Inc., a for-profit tutoring company Fogal helped found.

He said he hopes to operate Homework Help Heroes independently through fundraising and grants.

The organization’s board of directors is adept at fund-raising and will start to seek donations once the site is operational, he explained.

“We want to show people that they’re doing something before askby ing for money,” Fogal said.

Ttutors who donate time to Homework Help Heroes will receive prominent placement on the forprofit Education Extreme site—ideally netting them more clients, according to Fogal.

After a free, Homework Help Heroes tutoring session, students will have the option to schedule paid tutoring through Education Extreme, but Fogal said there is no pressure.

“There are no strings attached,” he said of the free service.

The founder explained that he forme Homework Help Heroes as a public service.

“Altruism isn’t working too well in this economy,” he said. “People complain about various ills in society, my thinking is that ... we can fix some of that.”

Safety is another issue, the founder said he hasn’t taken lightly.

Fogal said the group’s board of trustees includes a public school principal who voiced the need for security.

He explained that students and tutors will no be able to see one another. Instead, they will both be able to see and manipulate the same screen while speaking to one another.

“It’s modified whiteboard software,” he explained.

Fogal stressed that there will be no outside contact between teachers and students, and all messages must go through the app’s server, which will leave an easy-to-follow paper trail of exchanges between tutors and kids.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that it’s a secure environment,” said Fogal.

Additional information is available at homeworkhelpheroes.org. Interested parties can also call Fogal at 1-347-693-8308 or email him at info@homeworkhelpheroes.org.