High school seniors Camila Fermin and Maria Alonzo are making sure no students are left behind this school year.

The girls are part of UnidosNow’s Future Leaders Academy scholars.

UnidosNow leadership initially started seeing a need for tutoring among its younger peers when schools went virtual at the beginning of the pandemic.

Many of the students UnidosNow works with come from immigrant families who may not speak the language very well.

The language barrier, combined with work schedules, made it hard for many of these parents to help their kids with their online schooling.

So when parents started reaching out for help, the FLA scholars answered the call.

“I saw a little bit of fear, I think, its difficult to get into a new school year having no idea how it’s going to work out,” Fermin said.

High schooler Denny Lu started the nonprofit Your Advance to address the need, working with some of the FLA scholars to get it started.

They are now collaborating with UnidosNow to help close the learning gap.

“Especially during this pandemic, when hopes for the future are really down, it’s great to see a face that can relate to your experiences,” Fermin said.

The high schoolers will work individually with at least two students every week.  

For them, it’s personal - not only are they going to school themselves, but some, like Camila and Maria, come from immigrant families themselves.

“For me, right now, having the opportunity to help those kids, it’s amazing,” Alonso said.

“It feels very good to help others who are in the same position that you were at some point in your life,” Fermin said.

Paying it forward -- one video call at a time.