HOUSTON – One Houston teen and his friend found a creative way to help frontline workers keep their children mentally active and engaged during this pandemic. Amruth Nandis created a Telementors, a virtual mentorship and tutoring program for the children of those working the frontlines.
When COVID-19 hit, Nandish found himself with extra time on his hands, and so he wanted to dedicate that time to do something meaningful. The idea originated from a conversation with his mother and uncle, who are both frontline workers.
“His kids were staying at home. They were doing nothing and having no social interaction,” the 16-year-old Houston teen said.
With school going virtual and many of his relatives in the healthcare field, Nandish knew he had the skills to remedy this problem.
“A lot of their personal time with their family is gone now with hospitals being busy... So that’s why I kind of came up with this idea where you could have someone: a tutor or a mentor,” Nandish said.
And soon enough, he created Telementors, which aims to provide educational and emotional support for children of frontline workers. Children are matched with a high school mentor and tutor and the sessions take place over Zoom or the parent’s preferred technology.
Nandish took this concept to several hospitals, doctors and medical personnel. Many loved it.
“Through cold emailing, through cold calling...I looked at every single hospital, many doctors, alumni networks in schools--every resource where I could find people who might need this,” Nandish said.
When the program grew in popularity, Nandish contacted his childhood friend, 17-year-old Saathwik Saladi, to help. They now operate for healthcare workers at Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann and also help healthcare workers in Texas, California and even Idaho.
“It’s not only about learning. It’s about the bonds that people create,” Saladi said.
Children’s parents could request what the tutors could work on. Tutors could go over reading, math, science and more. They could also just lend an ear and help cheer the children up and learn about their day.
Telementors has now more than 50 mentors and more than 60 mentees. The ultimate goal is to be a contributing part of the community and to help students and healthcare workers feel support and perhaps relief during this unprecedented time.
“We talk about basketball. We talk about our lives...We want to help,” Saladi said.