In 1989, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist Ford Cauffiel became aware of the serious fiscal and social costs of illiteracy. Attributing his own achievements to peer tutoring that gave him self-confidence and a taste for success and reflecting on the advantages he had noted in cross-training in his own business, Mr. Cauffiel created Students for Other Students (S.O.S.).
S.O.S. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising money from foundations, corporations, and individuals for the promotion, operation, and funding of peer tutoring programs (which includes cross-age tutoring) in school districts to pay students to tutor other students who are falling through the cracks. It was born from the belief that illiteracy is not incurable, but rather the product of gaps within our educational system. S.O.S. seeks to enhance existing schools by filling these gaps and providing students who are falling behind, the additional academic assistance, encouragement, and opportunities needed to help them reach their potential.
Thus, in 1989 S.O.S. began with one peer tutoring program in one Ohio school district. Fifteen years later, S.O.S. has helped an estimated 8,000 students in urban, suburban, and rural elementary, middle, and high schools in eight Ohio school districts in four Ohio counties as well as school districts in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Illinois.