smart steps

The current Smart Steps team. Top Row L-R: Daniel Czikk, Brent Zhang, Hassan Abdallah, Rupayan Mukherjee, Navdeep Hansra and Jaikaran Goraya. Bottom Row L-R: Angela Zhao, Subaniya Thaya, Rishika Aggarwal, Renee Annoh, Allison Coutinho, Ami Patel, Saniya Mansuri, Andrea Kallumadyil, Julia Kobyilianski, Priscilla Matthews and Emelin Mathew.

Smart Steps is a new tutoring program at Western that gives students the opportunity to tutor kids from grades one to eight on a volunteer basis in a variety of subjects.

The program was founded by Ami Patel and Saniya Mansuri, two third-year biology and medical sciences students. 

It provides Western students the opportunity to teach and be a role model for the next generation of university kids, Patel said.

“I think the main reason we wanted to start this organization is that we were super passionate about education and making sure everyone gets an equal opportunity,” Mansuri said. “We want it to be more of a friendly environment where kids can open up and talk freely about what they are struggling with.”

According to Patel, Smart Steps only began in October, but the response has been very positive with parents asking for their child to remain in the program until high school.

“We want someone who can think dimensionally and also think at the level of the child,” Patel explained. “Something different than going on the board and conceptualizing it for them.”

Patel and Mansuri decided to host the program at Western after determining that there was a benefit both for the tutor and the child.

The on-campus location makes the program convenient for tutors who are all Western students. Patel said the university’s atmosphere motivates the young students to pursue a post-secondary education. She recalled one student saying, “Everyone who is smart goes to university, right?” The child later said, “I’m going to be smart so I can go to university too.”

Even though the program has just taken off, Patel and Mansuri have already made plans for Smart Steps’ future. These plans include venturing into high school tutoring, becoming a non-profit organization and even developing an app.

For all students wishing to take part, Patel and Mansuri encourage everyone to look at the Smart Steps Facebook page for more information about the program and the tutors already involved.


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