Lacombe resident Khushi Patel’s own experiences with tutoring inspired her to reach out and help those around her.
And that level of help has exceeded all expectations.
Patel, 17, just graduated from high school this past June,
Her family hails from India, and they settled in Lacombe when she was just six months old.
She always enjoyed her school years, and she did well - until around late middle school and early high school when she started struggling with math and science.
For Patel, it was disheartening as she hadn’t encountered many challenges in learning prior to this.
She started to explore ways to bolster her understanding - and that’s where tutoring came in.
Patel eventually found a tutor who she really clicked with, and the results were tremendous.
After all, it wasn’t just about receiving a poor grade in a given subject.
“It had started to affect my self-esteem a lot, and my confidence.
“My tutor taught me that it’s not just about the knowledge and experience that a tutor has, it’s also about the qualities that impact others that can help to change a person’s life.
“That was the moment where I realized that I had probably needed a bit of guidance not only in academics but also in my thinking - in my mindset.”
Patel said the experience helped her become a much better student, and a better student of life as well.
It wasn’t long before the grades started shooting up again.
“During it all, I realized that I wanted to do the same for others,” she said. “I wanted to do the same thing that my tutor had done for me.”
Around this time, the pandemic forced drastic changes to learning and Patel started to see that some of her classmates were struggling with the shift.
She began reaching out to see if she could help.
“We would start going over concepts, and we would talk about things,” she recalled of those early tutoring experiences.
“I loved that! It was amazing to see. Their faces would light up when a concept would click.”
She explored some helpful online tools, and via Zoom, started to lend a helping hand. Ultimately, that ‘help’ began to reach a much wider range of students.
Patel was also considering post-secondary studies at this point, and thinking of ways to save money. With an increasing demand for her tutorial help, she launched her own tutoring business.
More and more students approached her for assistance, and she eventually had to bring on other tutors to help out.
“Up until 2022, I did it on my own - doing the bookkeeping, the tutoring, the marketing, connecting with students and parents - all of that.”
Not that she minded - in fact, Patel said her passion for helping others is something that actually relaxes her. “That excitement was always there.”
Still, to be able to expand the service, she knew she needed help.
In November of 2022, she wanted to take a few additional courses herself but knew that her tutorial efforts might suffer a bit with so much on her plate.
“I decided to recruit a team member. I wanted her or him to be a student as well, so we could (focus) on the same goal which was to ignite a renewed interest in learning which may have been lost,” she explained.
“We want to inspire students to do better and also provide innovative new ways of learning.”
Currently, she has seven tutors on her team.
Besides assisting those through grade school in a range of subjects, they also help immigrant children, students with disabilities, and those from different provinces.
Now, as Patel prepares to study actuarial science at university this fall, she is determined to expand tutoring on an even wider scale.
The team now helps out students as far away as Quebec and Ontario as well - and beyond.
Sure, she’ll be deep in her studies - but Patel loves connecting with students and seeing each step of progress that they make.
“Each person has a fantastic story,” she said.
“Seeing them, talking to them - it’s the interaction. It’s also about understanding that you don’t have to do much to change the world.
“Just helping one student - to help them do whatever they want to do in life. Education makes a difference. It moves mountains.
“If I can at least move one mountain through helping someone with their education, I feel like I’m living a meaningful life.”
For more information, check out www.Iiinnova.com.