High school volunteers come to the aid of at-risk kids

Volunteers with Branch Out Tutors work with students during a summer camp in Bethesda, Md. Wednesday, July 19, 2017 (ABC7 photo)

At the Magruders Mash Up Summer Camp students are folding, cutting and gluing hand-made fidget spinners. 17-year-old Kyle Zhu, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, is co-founder of Branch Out Tutors; an organization that makes the camp possible.

"I hope to bring awareness to this group and provide unique experiences for these kids that they normally would not be able to have," he told ABC7 News.

In ninth grade, Zhu decided to help form a non-profit that comes to the aid of needy kids. 10-year-old Ruth Elias of Brookhaven Elementary gets homework help after school from Branch Out Tutors. "I like when we do our homework all together," she expressed.

When school is in session the assistance is provided at five sites from Monday through Thursday. Jayquan Garvin, a sixth grader at Brookhaven, appreciates the volunteers. "Since they're in high school, they know if we mess up they know what to do and how we can learn better," Garvin explained.

During the school year and at summer camp Branch Out Tutors also offers STEM/Robotics workshops.

Thirty volunteers from Montgomery County high schools serve throughout the year with the goal of becoming role models for those at risk.

The program has even reached underprivileged students in China; building their confidence and encouraging them to reach for their dreams. "To develop a passion for something at an early age that they will be able to take with them into their later lives," Zhu added.

This story has been updated, Thursday, July 20, 2017

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