BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Families across Western New York are being challenged by virtual learning, especially those who don’t speak English as a first language. A brother and sister in Buffalo are trying to change that.
Siblings Bashar and Sara Kattan want to make sure students aren’t left behind, and that’s why they’re making videos so that parents have a tool to help their kids stay on track.
“The parents who speak another language were struggling the most because they don’t have any idea who to like teach their children at home,” Sara said.
Sara and her brother decided they’d make tutorials in Arabic to help families out. Their videos walk parents or students through how the video conferencing website Zoom works.
“We can make a change during the pandemic and we saw there is many opportunities,” Bashar said.
Sara and Bashar made the videos during their summer internship through Bank of America and the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, also known as WEDI.
“We thought the perfect project would be to have them create some videos that were doing trainings on some of these virtual apps that people have to use in order for their students to participate in education,” said WEDI executive director Carolynn Welch.
Welch said all of the students the organization helps are learning the English Language.
“A lot of them have parents who may or may not have English fluency so this virtual world has been very difficult because they’ve had to navigate all of these different programs,” she said. “All of us parents are kind of pulling out our hair trying to figure it out and we kind of recognize that there’s a gap there.”
Sara and Bashar also created videos in Arabic on how to use Schoology and Google Meets.
“For kids that have come to this country as immigrants and really had to find their way, they’ve done an exceptional job,” Welch said.
WEDI works with about 50 families who can use the videos for help. Anyone looking to access those tutorials can reach out to WEDI by clicking here.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.