CCA students launch Virtual Youth Academy

A group of Canyon Crest Academy students started Virtual Youth Academy as a class project.

A group of Canyon Crest Academy students has launched a business, Virtual Youth Academy, to offer students a more robust set of online tutoring, music lessons, baking workshops and other online activities.

“We’re trying to promote social interactions, just personal connections in kids right now,” said Kim Peretz, a Canyon Crest junior. “A lot of elementary schools are still online, or it’s very limited and they still have to wear masks and a bunch of sports and after-school activities have come to a halt. The whole goal of VYA is basically to enrich kids through an online platform to promote a healthy at-home lifestyle.”

Virtual Youth Academy is part of a project she and her classmates, Tomer Avgil, Aidan Middleton, Sritha Kondragunta, Meg Larson and Tomer Ramot, are doing for a business class. They came up with their idea in part because of the high demand for online services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They have access to tutoring if they’re not doing as well in school,” said Tomer Avgil, also a CCA junior. “Baking and fitness activities are more of a way to de-stress, make sure they’re being active and having fun, rather than just staying at home and doing nothing. On top of that there are also music lessons, so if they are into music they can pursue that passion and get some help with that as well.”

Kim added that “we want to help kids adjust, because we don’t know how long this is going to be.”

“What makes it super cool is that we’re run by high schoolers completely, so we’re able to form personal connections with kids who maybe adults have a hard time connecting with,” she said.

Their goal is to reach out to more potential students through social media, word of mouth and contacting schools.

“If we’re going to be able to get to the community and get to more families, then it’s going to be a great way for different kids to interact from an online setting but also feel like they’re getting to see people and talk to people and form personal connections,” Kim said. “That’s another thing that’s really important for us.”

The students are donating 10% of their profits to First Book, a nonprofit that provides books, coats, snacks and other resources to low-income students.

“We want to educate people, we want to expand as much as possible and enrich people,” Tomer said.

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