Video chat allows residents at Westminster Canterbury to tutor students

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Learning virtually is what many students and families had to adjust to this year.

President and CEO of Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay Ben Unkle says they found a way to connect residents and former educators in their retirement community to students by using a Birdsong video chat app.

Unkle says the neat thing is that anyone wanting to tutor, or be tutored, can use any device to be a part of this by using

“It works on any PC, any Mac, any phone, any tablet, any device. We wanted to make it as available as possible for free to connect our residents with other students,” said Unkle.

Unkle says originally, they started this for the students of staff who work at Westminster Canterbury. Now, its gaining more attention.

“The beauty of taking this thing national and making it free for everybody with a website is you can have matching of unique and special needs, and now the boundaries [are] just not Virginia Beach,” he said.

Dr. Rosemarie Scotti Hughes has been a resident in the retirement community for two years. 

“Resident services put a notice in our in-house newsletter ‘The Chatter’ and said, ‘Would you like to tutor a student?’ and I have time right now, so I decided to try it,” said Hughes.

She was previously a teacher for second and third-graders and also taught graduate students for more than 25 years. She’s currently paired with a fourth-grader who needed help with spelling and math. 

One of her favorite parts about this connection?

“He’s a delightful person to be with and I look forward to having him master a concept,” said Hughes.

Unkle says there are about 10 residents participating right now.

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