September 14, 2021

The Social Institute Student Influencer Program: Introducing Ben and Alex Joel

One of the Seven Social Standards that The Social Institute believes in is: Finding Your Influencers. This means surrounding yourself with positive role models who support you and encourage you to play to your core. We want to help students find these positive and credible influences, so we began our Student Influencer Program. Each week a different student is selected to take over our Instagram and highlight how they act as a positive influence and inspiration in their communities.

This week, we are excited to introduce Ben and Alex Joel. Alex and Ben are the co-founders of a tutoring service called Intutorly. At Intutorly, volunteer high school tutors are matched with elementary school students in need of academic support. The tutors teach subjects such as math, science, reading, writing, ESL, Spanish, Chinese, debate, and more. Ben and Alex launched Intutorly last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in efforts to combat learning loss from the closure of in-person schools and the shift to remote learning. Since its launch, Intutorly has served over 1000 students! They have even been featured on Good Morning America, CBS News, and The Washington Post.

We interviewed Ben and Alex to learn more about them. Here’s what they had to say:

What do you value about yourself or others?

Ben and Alex: We value commitment and hard work. We are proud that we were able to identify a growing issue that we care about and then commit ourselves to combat it. We are also so proud of all of our tutors who found the issue of learning loss troubling who then took action through their volunteer work.

What are your personal goals?

Ben and Alex: Our goal is to keep up with school while continuing to manage Intutorly and our other passions that are important to us. While at times it seems like school takes over, we want to always prioritize a healthy balance between academics and the extracurriculars that we enjoy.

How do you feel as you head back to school this fall?

Ben and Alex: We feel somewhat nervous because we are going back to “normal” school after almost one and a half years of virtual/hybrid learning. At the same time, we also feel excited to finally get to experience normal life again and rebuild some of the connections we have lost due to the pandemic. While we expect to have a lot more schoolwork this year, we both feel like we have built a wonderful support system and have found ways to deal with challenges as we matured throughout the pandemic.

What are the things you try to accomplish each day?

Ben and Alex: Whether we are focused on getting our work done or enjoying time with friends and family, we try to make every day count. Sometimes we find ourselves looking too much into the future or past, so it is important for us to stay present and find meaning in each and every day.

What or who inspires you most?

Ben and Alex: Our tutors inspire us the most because of how eager and committed they are to helping the greater community. Since our tutors are primarily high school students, they stepped up in a time where they were also being challenged with virtual school and many other changes. Their acts of selflessness will always encourage us to think beyond ourselves.

How has social media acted as a positive influence on your life?

Ben: Social media has had a positive influence on my life by helping showcase my passions. It plays a major role in growing Intutorly and educating our audience on why our work is so important. It also helps me share my personal hobbies. My photography Instagram acts as a virtual art gallery for my photos, which enables me to easily share this passion with friends and family.

Alex: Social media has helped me grow my passions in tremendous ways. I have been able to discover talented chefs, for example, who have helped me improve my cooking and who have introduced me to new recipes. Another way social media has had a positive impact on my life is through activism. I am able to use my platform to spread awareness on certain topics that are important to me.

Of our Seven Social standards, which one would you most resonate with and why?

Ben and Alex: “Strike a Balance” resonates with us the most. Social media is addictive, so it is important to find time away from it to form real-world connections and to stay productive. When we find that social media is prohibiting us from being our best selves, we take some time away to ensure that we are prioritizing the things that truly matter to us

If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give to him/her about navigating social media or social relationships?

Ben and Alex: Something we would tell our younger selves is that social media should be used in moderation. If you do not limit the amount of time you spend on social media, you can find yourself scrolling for too long. While thirty minutes on social media may not seem like a long time, there are so many other things you can do in that period of time to increase productivity or to help keep stress levels low. For example, you can read a book, finish up an assignment, or go on a hike with your family instead.

Alex and Ben’s accomplishments are worth celebrating, and we cannot wait to continue to follow their journey as they continue to grow and make an impact through Intutorly. If you know a student who is accomplishing great things, we want to highlight them! We love sharing impressive students with the world. Contact us here.

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.