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Meet the New Jersey Teen Teaching His Fellow Students Math

Image by Courtesy Zachary Stier

When I created YMath in 2012, it was a way for me to share my love for learning by providing free one-on-one support in math to students who otherwise would not be able to afford a private tutor. Over the past few years, I have seen the impact of YMath on the academic performance and self-confidence of its participants as it has grown to a nonprofit organization with a team of 45 tutors at two venues. I am thrilled that in less than three years, the YMath tutors and I have been able to help more than 200 students in Bergen County.

Image by Zachary Stier

It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a recipient of the 2016 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award and be recognized for my work through YMath. I had read about the projects that former award winners implemented, and was impressed by the foresight and the passion shown by all of them. I am honored to be included in this group.

The generosity of the Helen Diller Family Foundation is amazing. I am excited to allocate some of the award money to YMath and inspire more students to challenge themselves and achieve new heights., This money will enable me to buy much needed resources to assist with the program, like books, pencils and paper, online teaching materials, and other supplies. It will allow me the flexibility to expand the program to other locations. It will also allow me to explore the possibility of converting one of the most challenging parts of YMath – the scheduling of students and tutors – to an online program that could reduce the time involved in performing this by hand. My hope is that adding automation to this process will facilitate expansion of the program to other locations. I plan to allocate the rest of the award money to help cover the cost of college tuition.

With this award, I am confident that we can expand the reach of YMath and help more students succeed. I believe that there are students in every high school with an aptitude for math and a passion for helping others, and there are students in every town that cannot afford a private tutor but would benefit from individual attention. I hope that students in other districts see the benefit of YMath and are willing to initiate and run a YMath outpost at their school.

I also hope that my project can inspire other teens to pursue their passion in life and that communities will continue supporting and recognizing the social good done by people of all ages.

More About Zachary:

Zachary Stier loves being a math tutor. With every student who aces a test or who discovers a passion for learning, he is reminded of the impact individual attention and assistance has on a student’s performance. His passion for teaching and his ability to make math relevant in the real world resulted in a growing demand for his service. Once he entered high school, Zachary decided to launch YMath, a nonprofit organization that provides free one-on-one tutoring to students who are struggling in their math classes but are unable to pay for a private tutor. A team of more than 45 tutors works with students at two venues every week, the Bergen County Academies and the Garfield YMCA. Together, they have helped more than 200 students. Zachary’s peer-to-peer approach allows tutors to create personalized teaching plans tailored to meet every student’s individual needs and ensure they don’t fall behind. Those who are more advanced, work with tutors to discover new applications for their skills and to prepare for math leagues and competitions. Students can join the program at any point in the academic year and at any skill level. In 2014, Zachary was named a Youth Volunteer of the Year by the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance in recognition of YMath’s success. He plans to expand YMath to additional locations and identify students throughout the country who just need a little extra support to succeed. Stier will be attending Princeton in the fall, where he plans to major in math.

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