Mentorship Allegiance: Meera Mahidhara’s self-built tutoring organization


London Dorton

Meera Mahidhara works on her tutoring organization’s, Mentorship Allegiance, website in the courtyard. She has four years of tutoring experience and created her own site in 2021.

By Lizette Gonzalez, Archer School for Girls

Mentorship Allegiance, created by junior Meera Mahidhara, caters tutoring services based on the unique learning style of every student and was created to help students receive one-on-one support. As of now, she offers tutoring to children in middle school and below for no cost during weekday evenings through her self-built organization and website. 

Previously to Mentorship Allegiance, Mahidhara worked with the organizations Learn to Be and School on Wheels for four years. She then decided to make her own so she would be able to help kids she knew free of cost and through her own system and schedule.

“My nanny wanted her boys to get tutored [but] because they are not able to afford a tutor, I thought of making a site for them as well as the other people I was tutoring,” Mahidhara said. 

Mahidhara had encountered difficulties in finding time to hold tutoring sessions as she is a full-time student and is heavily involved in various extracurricular activities such as dance, orchestra and choir. 

“I’ve been trying to find an hour or an hour-and-a-half specifically for tutoring so it’s either right after school or after my extracurriculars in the evening,” Mahidhara said. “I’m thankful because the students [have] been really flexible with that so doing [this schedule] has made it easier.”

“This was my way of trying to help out in the community. I like connecting with my students and teaching, [it is] really fun and rewarding.” ”

— Meera Mahidhara

Though Mahidhara focuses her tutoring services specifically based on what each of her students need help on, she has also instilled fun activities and create her own teaching voice.

“We decided that I would teach them each a word in Spanish or Korean every single day,” Mahidhara said. “I taught these two kids that I always tutor how to say their name in Korean, and it was so fun and made us bond.”

Chase Austin and Pierce Austin, who are sixth graders at Manhattan Beach Middle School, are tutored by Mahidhara and value how “fun” and “engaging” their tutoring sessions are.

“She’s helpful and funny,” Pierce Austin said. “She’s not a boring teacher or [teaches] like a robot.”

Chase Austin echoed his brother’s statements and said he was grateful for Mahidhara’s teaching methods.

“She makes it interesting and isn’t just a boring tutor that we have to [go to] every Wednesday,” Chase Austin said. “[I would tell her] thank you for helping me in subjects that I needed work on and for [the sessions] being fun.”

Chase and Pierce’s mother, Shawna Austin, said she has seen benefits and positive educational habits that transcend from her sons’ sessions with Mahidhara.

“They are more focused and accountable of their work and there has definitely been improvement in their schoolwork because of Meera,” Shawna Austin said. “Before when I asked them if they had homework, they would only tell me that they’re done but now they are more open about what work they are exactly doing.”

Mahidhara said she appreciates her students’ eagerness to learn and is happy that they have reached a level of trust and fun.

“Our sessions always start with a check in and we catch up a little bit,” Mahidhara said. “I feel that doing that makes us have this relationship that I can tell helps them out when learning.”

According to Shawna Austin, Mahidhara’s teaching style has a combination of challenge and patience that has helped her sons.

“Meera really challenges them and they are up for that challenge too, which is great to see,” she Austin said. “She’s very patient with them and leads their work, but she has them figure out everything [on their own], so she still gets them to work hard.”

One of Mahidhara’s goals is to better the design of Mentorship Allegiance’s website in order to facilitate access to potential students and families. 

“I would like to work on the site a little bit more,” Mahidhara said. “to make it easier to access and have a running email that works so it’s a little more official.”

Additionally, Mahidhara wishes to expand her non-profit organization since as of right now, she is only actively tutoring four people. 

“There are definitely goals to expand this,” Mahidhara said. “I am the only tutor right now because I only have about four people but family and friends keep telling me they have kids that need tutoring so I want to expand and see if other people would like to join as well.”

Mahidhara added that this is the beginning and she is excited to see where Mentorship Allegiance reaches. 

“This was my way of trying to help out in the community,” Mahidhara said. “I like connecting with my students and teaching, [it is] really fun and rewarding.” 

Mahidhara’s passion for tutoring and working with kids is strongly apparent to Shawna Austin as she has seen it firsthand with her kids and is thankful for the help they have received because of Mahidhara.

“She’s so good with kids and has given so much to my boys. They genuinely like to work with her,” Austin said. “She has a very nurturing way of teaching children because she never talks down to them and truly helps them overcome their [educational] obstacles.”

This story was originally published on The Oracle on October 22, 2021.