In 2008, the Learning Buddies Network was founded by Dr. Alisa Lipson, her daughters Dena and Samantha, and their friend Alison Lee. In describing her initial motivation for creating the organization, Dr. Lipson says that she “would see these kids coming in with learning issues, feeling discouraged. They could see a doctor any time because of our health system, but for their learning problems, basic treatment wasn’t available.”

As most of these children could not afford access to tutoring services, Dr. Lipson and her team of University students decided to develop a program in which other University students are trained to work 1:1 with a child in need. During the intervening years Dena, Samantha and Alison have grown up, graduated and moved on. They can feel satisfied that they have created a lasting legacy, and LBN is proud of the way that the tradition of youth leadership that they initiated continues today.

The Learning Buddies Network has now grown into a thriving Non-Profit Organization. We have expanded to deliver 16 Math and Reading programs serving 10 schools and organizations, with 160 high school and university student mentors offering once-per-week tutoring sessions to elementary school children who need support in developing reading and math skills. In addition to these programs, which are delivered during the school year, LBN also offers summer programs which are gratefully received and well attended.


Dr. Lipson still dedicates much of her time and energy to LBN, as Founder and President of the Board. Dr. Alice Ho, Alison Lee’s mother, is also a founding board member who continues to contribute much to the community. Her dedicated fund-raising activities have kept LBN in a financially sound position throughout its history. More information about LBN’s team can be found here.

During these years, many people have contributed to the success of LBN, either as Funders and Donors, as members of the Volunteer Board, paid Staff and Consultants, Student Volunteers and Mentors, or Colleagues from the School system who have enthusiastically contributed their time and energy to helping LBN to thrive and grow. More information about our sponsors can be found here.

Fast forward to 2020, and a whole new world is just beginning to emerge as the Covid-19 Pandemic impacts society, including our school and education system.

LBN has already launched remote mentoring programs at six of our sites. We have twelve mentors conducting these remote mentoring sessions. We expect these numbers will grow as the early adopters achieve success. In the coming weeks, we will evaluate the efficacy of these remote mentoring sessions for future use. The fact that we offered and were even able to transition to remote mentoring so quickly is fantastic, and the families are very grateful for the opportunity to receive support in these challenging times.