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In Conversation With HELM Learning Co-Founders

Nirmala Garimella
09/24/2020

Want to be an entrepreneur? Think like Sidharth and Vikram Anantha, two brothers from Lexington, MA who started very early in their teenage years solving problems. Their biggest opportunity came during the early days of COVID19 when the schools shut down and they identified a learning gap in students who were looking for online learning.

While educational institutions were adapting to this new phenomena, the two started HELM ( (Helping Everyone Learn More) which offered classes initially in Python but slowly grew to add topics in STEM, the arts and even journalism to children from Grade 2 onwards. The commitment – 5 hours a week for a one and half hour class.

“What we really saw was an opportunity to engage students during the summer months” says Sidharth. HELM was formed with a determination to make sure that kids can still pursue learning “All our classes are open to anybody of any age,” says Siddharth. “If you have interest, you can sign up.” Once they found that students were eager to learn they recruited other teachers – just like themselves!

So, what makes a great teacher? “Vikram explains that they should be good at explaining concepts, be engaged and be passionate about their subject’ They interview the young teachers gauging their enthusiasm and commitment and have a rating system in place that allows feedback.

The team has now teamed up with the Indian Americans of Lexington, a civic group that supports their initiative. Archana Singhal, a volunteer IAL member who also liaises with the school committee and Monika Minocha, another volunteer hope to help in the outreach and identify others who would be interested in partnering with HELM.

Now that schools have reopened, classes will be running once a week instead of once per day. This way, the team hopes, teachers will be able to teach and manage schoolwork, and the students will be able to join after school like other after school activities. The brothers are also adding new classes every couple of days, so there is always new content students can learn

 Having experimented and now successfully captured the interest of many students, their next strategy is to make classes easier to sign up for. They have now launched a new signup system that makes signing up and getting details for a class as simple as possible in a few easy steps. “Many parents have also asked for tutoring, so we are in the process of getting tutoring set up”, says Vikram.

 The brothers are open to offer classes to students globally. Right now, they have students and teachers from across the world, but they hope to expand and work with nonprofits.

 HELM now offers more than 35 classes, all online and the vision for the Anantha brothers is to offer peer to peer education and accessibility to information to all students anywhere, everywhere.

 For more information, check out their website  https://helmlearning.com/

 



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