BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
We aren’t born perfect, and we don’t leave this world in perfection either. Life is a journey and we each traverse in our own way. There are ups and downs, obstacles and conflicts that threaten to hold us back, and unless we learn to navigate them there is no way we can progress further and discover the person who we should be.
Everyone remembers the person in their life that made a difference. That one person that was always in their corner that spent their time and effort advocating and pushing them to find and reach their highest potential. For many they are lucky to find this one person in a teacher or a mentor who takes the time to understand them, to facilitate their needs, teach them right from wrong, and keeps cheering them on till they reach the top.
Strong, smart and fiercely independent, Simone Jennifer Smith is a force to be reckoned with especially when it comes to her desire and determination to help her community. From an early age Simone always knew she wanted to do whatever she could to help people.
“I was seventeen years old and my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia,” Simone shares. “I watched a really strong woman disappear, she was a shell of herself.” She feared that she might one day become that same paranoid woman who didn’t know herself.
“I said to myself, if I’m going to lose my mind I want to know why it’s happening and how it’s happening, so I can stop it ahead of time,” Simone says.
Simone took the time to really delve deep into the world of Psychology, to thoroughly understanding the human psyche and really discern how people thought the way that they did and completed her Masters in Humanistic and Clinical Psychology at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, in 2009.
She started working at a company, helping to tutor children. It hadn’t been her first choice on the job market when she come back to Toronto, but she was told that her degree was not recognized here. Working as a tutor she was committed to helping those children, and she found that she was good at it.
“If I can learn a child I can teach them, if I can learn a person I can teach them how to do better that’s how I saw it,” Simone says. Her background in Psychotherapy allowed for her to be able to listen efficiently. Unfortunately, the company that she was working for didn’t seem to foster the values of care and attention she did, noticing how they overcharged their clients, under delivered on service and underpaid their employees.
“Something didn’t feel right, and it didn’t sit well with me,” Simone explains. That’s when she made the decision to start her own company.
Hear 2 Help Community Development Services was founded in 2012, and its unique name a tribute to its founder as Simone in Hebrew means ‘to hear.’ The company was started with the responsibility and strong desire to help people, to do what it takes to bring out the best in people.
For the past six years, Hear 2 Help has worked to created new programs dedicated to supporting parents, educating children, and keeping family together. The people who work for at Hear 2 Help are educators and community advocates who share the same visions and goals, and understand the value they are instilling and sharing with the children they tutor and the families they mentor.
“There’s two things we can do in this life, and that’s either to build or to destroy we’ve chosen to build,” says Dave Rankin educator at Hear 2 Help.
Hear 2 Help is there to help the community in any way that they can. They are not only exclusive to tutoring children in their school work. “Tutoring is what it looks like on paper, but we do so much more than that,” Simone explains.
When Simone and her team go into a home they become like family, advocating for children and parents alike, understanding the family as a whole and working with everyone on a one on one basis. They understand the individual needs of each child they mentor, and how they should be taught. They advocate for parents attending, parent-teacher conferences speaking on behalf of and establishing an understanding for those that don’t speak English.
“We do more than just sit down and tutor, we spend a lot of time talking to our students about their day, understanding how they feel, seeing how they work, and helping them to edit papers that they have written all hours of the day,” Simone says. “We cannot help them to improve if we do not understand their mind and how they learn.”
The Hear 2 Help Team are a group of individuals willing to do whatever it takes to facilitate healthy learning practices, and better communication, and help create outstanding individuals. Their expert teachers work to remain current on methods and techniques to better assist families, and they themselves understand the benefits of continuous learning to enhance their own skills.
They provide, tutoring, mentoring, online assistance, and even video tutoring to ensure they are always ready and equipped to help with your needs.
“I understand everyone can change, and I have put myself in a position to allow my knowledge, skills and expertise to be utilized to help people become better people.” Simone shares.
“We have a responsibility to help and we have proven results. Children with behavioral issues and suffering grades are just a small percentage of the people we help. Our clients are people from all walks of life, ranging from age 4 to 78.
“I do not devalue my services, I tell people, if you hire me and put me in front of your family things are going to change,” Simone says. “You see me for an hour, but what you don’t see are the hours I put into helping you behind the scenes going that extra mile to do what I can in the work of helping to build people’s lives.”
At Hear 2 Help, none of their clients are locked into a binding contract, everyone is on a month by month basis, and Simone says she has had a student who left, taking a year-long break and came back after all that time to continue employing her services.
“It’s important for people to understand that this is an internal and long-term process,” Simone explains. “When you hire a tutor, your child isn’t going to get better in the span of two months, this is something that will happen over the course of time, and slowly but surely you’ll see astonishing improvements.”
Hear 2 Help offers specialized and affordable services, with sessions that are tailored to your needs and made to suit your budget great or small. They are available one on one or in a group setting and their qualified tutors are well versed in the subjects of Math, English, Science, Social Studies, African History and the Arts. They offer EQAO prep for students in Gr. 3-4 and even english for adults.
“I’m here to offer the support that people need to learn and grow and I’m here as long as they need me,” Simone says. Hear 2 Help offers the tools you need to better prepare yourself for the world ahead. They are here to advocate for you, in whatever capacity you require. Let them help transform you to or your children to whoever you want to be!