For West Windsor teen Samvit Agarwal, it started off with a love for computer science.
It turned into 300 volunteers, 250 students and plenty of happy parents.
Agarwal’s non-profit organization, CS Remastered, guides kids from grades 3 to 12 with free computer science education. It has been the goal of the organization since it was launched in late 2018, but the coronavirus pandemic has made Agarwal and his team of volunteers more driven to give back.
“I’ve been interested in technology for a long time and I began by helping kids in the neighborhood out with their technical projects,” the 17-year-old student said. “I felt as though a lot of kids were interested in technology but didn’t have the resources to start. I figured it would be great to create a program for kids to learn computer science and technology directly through CS Remastered.
“Before the pandemic, we taught in person at local libraries,” Agarwal said. “We have seen an increase in participation and more people willing to participate. Moving the teaching to online has been pretty seamless.”
Agarwal and the other 299 high school volunteers use Discord to hold the tutoring. The app is a server that the volunteers can sort in ways to host one-on-one sessions in private rooms and post announcements and upcoming events for the students and their parents to make note of.
It comes in handy because the organization has five different branches — one in New Jersey, one in California, another in Ohio, one in China and the other in India.
It’s already plenty for Agarwal and company to keep track of, though the buck isn’t stopping there. The plan is to continue growing.
“New Jersey is our biggest branch and I would say 170 to 180 of our volunteers are from here,” he said. “West Windsor, Robbinsville, Ewing are a few of the towns in the New Jersey branch. Along with the other four branches, we also hope to expand to neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania soon.”
CS Remastered is still in the search for sponsors to pitch in with the donation of proceeds, although it’s teaming up with other non-profits in the meantime. Agarwal talked about a few of those relationships.
“We’re partnering with a few other organizations,” he said. “We’re partners with HomeFront NJ, which reaches out to kids in homeless shelters and we teach those kids basic programming/STEM education. We also work with Girls Who Code in an effort to start a branch there and increase STEM participation amongst females.”
The feedback among parents as well as the high school students has additionally left Agarwal with a grin. He shared a thank-you note from a parent of one of the New Jersey students.
“Dear CS Remastered team, I have heartfelt gratitude for your effort and time for selfless teaching. I wish you all success and happiness in everything you do.”
Another compliment read: “Thanks for organizing. Matthew and Ishaan had a great time learning. Thanks to the volunteers who make it all happen.”
As Agarwal’s journey as the founder and president of CS Remastered rolls on, his journey in the computer science field is just getting underway.
It’s the West Windsor-Plainsboro South senior’s passion and he hopes rewarding efforts like his non-profit organization will only benefit him with future endeavors.
“In college, I hope to do some combination of computer science and business,” he said. “I want to expand with entrepreneurship and social impact. I’m hoping to get into California, Pennsylvania and schools like those.
“For most of us at CS Remastered, and me particularly, we enjoy taking something we love and making a positive impact on others,” he added. “Seeing some of our students grow immensely in just a few months is amazing to see, and it validates the work we do.”
To get involved or register a student, go to the CS Remastered website.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
Ryan Patti may be reached at email@example.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.