Written by Luke Mead
When Rachel, Chloe (one of our tutors), and I sat in an AirBnb in Los Angeles four years ago, talking about the possibility of starting our own tutoring business after we survived a company merger and layoffs, I am not sure we really knew what an impact it would have on our lives. We discussed things like the company name and content, how much to charge our clients, how much to pay tutors, and all of the nonsense that goes into starting a business. The question that never came up was what kind of impact we could have on the families and communities that we serve–what’s more, how would they impact us?
Shortly after we secured our business license and launched a terrible looking website, we were introduced to a family in South Florida that would have a huge impact on Enhanced Prep. Sophia Lambert was student number three for EP, and we were quick to realize how special she really was. This young woman was kind, hardworking, and passionate about serving others. Test prep did not come easy to Sophia, but she was determined to reach her goal score, and, once she did, she set a new goal score and earned that as well. Sophia earned acceptance into her goal school–plus a few others she applied to–and we were so proud to have had a small impact on making that happen. Unfortunately, in January of this year, Sophia passed away after a tragic accident. We still feel the impact of losing her and try to live by the example she set for all of us by serving others and never giving up even when things are difficult.
The Enhanced Prep team has the great privilege and honor of serving several communities to help provide opportunities to students who, without programs like Virtual Village, may not have the resources to go to college. We have partnered with the Metropolitan Development Council to provide access to students in low-income communities. This program was launched to help support students during the school shutdown around COVID, but has turned into so much more. Now students have access to six hours of support each week to help with homework, including AP exams, financial aid, college applications, college essays, test prep, resume writing, and interviewing skills. This program has served over 1,000 students since it started and we are hoping to continue to grow that number. In fact, one student who is now attending Langston University, Mike Hankins, has joined our team and is the host within Virtual Village.
When we are done working with a student and family, we ask for their feedback on how things went and how we can improve. It is amazing how often a parent will say things like, “we came to you for test prep, but in return we got a son or daughter who is more confident, excited about life, and actively seeking to be better.” I think we should start giving feedback to the families about how they have impacted our lives. For example: “Your son or daughter has taught us that giving up is not an option, that we should spend more time figuring out how we can make others’ lives better, and it’s crucial to take time out to enjoy life.” This is exactly what Sophia did for our family, and these words are so true for the Enhanced Prep team and the impact our students have on us. You would be surprised how much time we as a company spend talking about our students with respect to their sports, art, service, tenacity, or other great ways they demonstrate their awesomeness.
We are grateful for all of you and what you bring to our lives. Thank you for continuing to give us the opportunity to serve you and your community.
We are looking to expand the reach of Virtual Village and seeking partners to help us do so. If you are interested in learning more about his opportunity, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.