Every charity started from an idea to help others for the greater good, and Tutoring Beyond Borders is no different. The idea for free tutoring came to our founder, Brenda Lee, when she noticed the costs of paid tutoring skyrocketing to unaffordable rates. Having been a tutee in the past and then a tutor in her senior years of high school, she decided to offer her services for free to help out her peers.
When she entered university, she wanted to volunteer for an organization that offered free, one-on-one private tutoring services combined with flexible scheduling for tutors who were students or had a busy schedule. However, no such organization was to be found. Looking to continue the volunteer work she had done before, she started to build a new charity from scratch and gather like-minded individuals to help become TBB’s first roster of tutors. Within half a year, Brenda had created a charity with a Board of Directors and a handful of tutors in place, but she encountered another issue that was completely unexpected: a lack of students!
Due to the “free” nature of TBB’s services, it was a long, uphill battle to get recognized as a high-quality tutoring service that no one had to pay for. The majority of parents did not believe that our services were free. It was not until 2012 that our numbers started to double and then triple due to our rising reputation. Soon enough, we went from having too few students to too many students.
Now, in 2017, we have had over 500 tutors join our charity and over 800 local students that we have provided free tutoring services to. Although our numbers keep growing at a steady rate, we have provided well over $1.5 million of free tutoring services to these students if we assume an average of $20/hour for a typical paid tutor at the university level!
We strongly believe that every student should be able to seek academic help when they are struggling, and TBB’s purpose is to help remove that financial barrier for struggling students who can’t afford paid tutoring. For the next few years, our hope is to continue streamlining our services and seek out more donations so that we can continue helping more underprivileged students and families in our community!
To learn more about our story, hover over each box below to find out what happened in each year!
2010TBB was founded by Brenda Yasie Lee
Tutoring Beyond Borders was founded as a not-for-profit organization by Brenda Yasie Lee, who was a first-year, undergraduate Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Waterloo during this time.
2011Became co-op employers with UofWaterloo
Due to our rapid growth, TBB was selected as one of the only charities with full co-op employer privileges at the University of Waterloo, hiring unpaid co-op students each term to aid in management and teaching.
2012Became a Canadian registered charity
In May of 2012, TBB successfully applied to become a registered Canadian charity. In the same year, we also launched our annual TBB Founder’s Scholarship for exceptional volunteers and tutors
2013Launched Gr. 9-12 Exam Cram program
Before exams, TBB would be inundated with student applications requesting exam help. As a result, we decided to start an Exam Cram program, partnering with public libraries to offer exam help for high school students.
2014Recognized for exceptional co-op supervision
TBB won the Top Co-op Employer Award from the University of Waterloo! However, we had to cancel our co-op program due to new university regulations.
2015Enhanced tutor recruitment efforts
To compensate for the loss of our co-op students, TBB focused on volunteer recruitment, successfully doubling our numbers within a year
2016Over $1 million worth of services
In 2016, we reached an estimated $1.5 million worth of volunteer services, made possible by the support of our amazing tutors and team members
2017New website, new structure, and new rules
Our old website crashed due to too many applications! We decided to take this opportunity to make a better site and streamline our services
2020For our 10-year anniversary, we're revamping and improving upon our existing tutoring programs
For our 10-year anniversary, we decided to improve our existing tutoring programs, streamline our operations, and improve our services.