Tutoring company partners with Boys & Girls Club to offer youth education services 

A new partnership between two education providers on the Peninsula may help some young students forge a path to academic success and potentially gain admission to some of the Bay Area's more prestigious high schools.

The Cardinal Education Scholars and the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club recently held a grand-opening ceremony at the Bayshore Community Center in Daly City to celebrate the new relationship between the organizations. The Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club works with youth from lower-income communities, providing services such as academic tutoring, job preparation, leadership training and health and lifestyle skills.

The Cardinal Education Group is a for-profit tutoring and mentoring company that caters primarily to students in more affluent areas. But through the partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, the nonprofit branch of Cardinal will provide its services free of charge three times a week to 12 sixth-grade students with challenging backgrounds.

"Our plan is to follow the 12 sixth-graders. Empirically and anecdotally, up through fifth grade, children from disadvantaged communities, they do lag their peers, but they're still part of the herd," said Allen Koh, executive director of the Cardinal Education Group. "But at sixth grade, there's a tremendous divergence. So we think that it's a very good interventionist age."

Cardinal has committed three years' worth of resources to the program, which will allow the education providers to work with the initial group of students through the eighth grade. The students will receive teaching, tutoring and mentoring services at no cost through Cardinal's nonprofit branch, Cardinal Education Scholars. Eventually, Cardinal tutors will help the students apply to private or specialized high schools if they choose.

It was Cardinal Education representatives who initially approached the Boys & Girls Club in August about the partnership, Koh said, because they thought it would be a good match.

"We were looking for a partner that we thought was doing a great job in terms of life and character lessons, and then that way we could be the specialist in education," Koh said. "We do a lot of what they do but for a different socioeconomic clientele, so we wanted to form a true partnership."

Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Evan Jones agrees that the partnership has been a fitting working opportunity to support education.

"We do a lot of one-on-one tutoring, but our people are experts on the kids," he said. "They're not necessarily experts in the subject matter. So the more people from the outside community we can have in to share their expertise with the kids, the better."

Cardinal received some seed money from clients to get the nonprofit program rolling, and Koh sees a lot of potential to provide a high-quality education to students with disadvantages. He wants the Boys & Girls Club youth to be able to score just as high academically as the students Cardinal serves from local affluent areas such as Palo Alto.

"The idea is that they are coming from such underprivileged backgrounds, if they were to perform very well, we could get them to be numerically identical to their more distinguished peers," Koh said.

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Emilie Mutert

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