In elementary and middle school, I was a competitive chess player (more about me here). When I was 12, a family friend approached me about teaching her young son the basics of the game. After several months of teaching, I wanted to expand my number of students so I put up fliers in the local ice cream store and Mexican restaurant. Soon I was teaching 8 beginner chess students. While I wasn’t a “Grandmaster,” my chess skills more than qualified me to teach young children learning the game.
I repeatedly heard from parents of my students how much their children enjoyed playing chess with me and learning the game. Parents also valued the individualized attention and the fact that my hourly rate was less than a quarter of the rate charged by older professional chess teachers. Over time, several parents of my chess students asked me to also provide homework help to their children, and soon I was teaching six days a week.
As high school progressed, I had less time to provide so many one-on-one lessons. I also noticed that many of my friends had incredible skills as musicians, athletes and students. As I started learning more about technology and became interested in “sharing economy” platforms like AirBnB, TaskRabbit and others, I began to wonder if a similar model could be applied here: enabling high school mentors to share their knowledge by teaching younger children across a wide variety of skills. The idea for MentorBuddies was born.
- Eli Richmond