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Community , Why NEPA?

Chris & Genelle Sedon of C&G Tutoring – Why NEPA?

“I can turn to people in this community, and they genuinely want to help me and see me succeed. I don’t think you can find that anywhere else besides NEPA.” – Genelle Sedon

In 2018, Chris and Genelle Sedon started C&G Tutoring with just a Facebook page and a Google Voice phone number. Neither of them had a business background, but they did have a passion for teaching and 20 years of combined experience. As lifelong residents of NEPA, this area gave them so much—now, they wanted to give back and help the next generation succeed.

In just three years, C&G Tutoring has reached about 200 students in the Wyoming Valley, from pre-k all the way through college. Even during the pandemic, they’ve continued to grow and thrive—in fact, Genelle was nominated for Educator of the Year at the 2020 Young Professionals Awards. And as always, giving back remains at the heart of what they do. Recently, they partnered with the King’s College Hispanic Outreach Program to provide a virtual SAT program to students.

In addition to running C&G Tutoring, the Sedons both work at Coughlin High School (Genelle teaches ESL and Chris teaches math). They currently live in Plains with their two children and two rescue pups. We recently met up at Pour Coffee House to hear their story about living in NEPA and starting their own business.

 

How long have you lived in NEPA?

Chris: I lived a block away from here, so I’ve lived in Wilkes-Barre forever.

Genelle: I’m a West Pittston native. I grew up in the Garden Village, and I loved my hometown growing up. It was always such a beautiful area and had a great family connection and small neighborhood.

Now, I did leave the area for a short time. I went to the University of Scranton for my undergraduate degree, and when I was studying there, I did study abroad internationally in Mexico. I went to UNIVA University, and that was a really great experience. I was able to take what I learned as an international student and apply it to some of the practices that I use in my tutoring services today. Then I also did a domestic exchange through American University, where I lived in Washington DC and worked for Stateline.org. I actually used to be a journalist before I was a teacher. I was able to see a little bit of city life, but my heart was here in our area. So I came back, then I wound up going back to the University of Scranton for my master’s degree in education.

 

When you were away, what did you miss most about NEPA?

Genelle: Definitely my family. I’m very, very close with my mom. She’s my best friend, so that was very hard to be away from my family and my friends. And of course, in our region, the pizza is irreplicable anywhere else. I remember just coming home for Easter the one year, and all I wanted was pizza. [laughs]

 

Well, now you have to tell us your favorite pizza spot.

Genelle: We have a couple. I’m a Tony’s girl. With pepperoni—that’s my favorite.

Chris: Tony’s pepperoni is really good. Can’t go wrong with that. They do it the right way. I’m partial to Rodano’s.

 

What do you love about your town?

Genelle: Our community is so supportive. I would not be able to have C&G Tutoring if I didn’t have the support of the community. The Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber has been instrumental in helping me navigate through this new business, as was Wilkes-Barre Connect and the Wilkes Small Business Development Center. These are all free community resources that have just been so extremely helpful. If I have questions or need advice, I know that I can turn to people in this community, and they genuinely want to help me and see me succeed. I don’t think you can find that anywhere else besides NEPA.

Chris: I love the fact that we’re close enough to big cities if you want that. You’re an hour away from Allentown, two hours from Philly, two and a half from New York City. You still get that small city feel here. But if you want get out and away from people, there’s trails. You can go in nature and see the beauty of it. It’s the best of both worlds.

 

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Genelle: I would say, for me, it’s definitely Grico’s. Being from West Pittston, it was always in our area. It’s more of an upscale restaurant that we would go to for special occasions. Then I got my husband involved in going to Grico’s. We were actually engaged there in one of their private booths, so it’s certainly near and dear to our hearts.

Chris: Grico’s is definitely a good one. And Anthracite Café, that’s another one if you like good, old-fashioned cooking. It’s one of the places where everything’s from scratch.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Genelle: I’m a fan of the arts. Since I was a child, my family always took me to see different shows. My first concert was The Pointer Sisters at the Kirby Center with my parents. I’ve also seen Debbie Gibson there. I think I was in about sixth grade. And I still go back to those areas. Sometimes I take my students now on field trips. We’re so fortunate that we have arts and entertainment right in our backyard.

One of our newest things that we really started to do is go on hikes. We’re really starting to appreciate the beauty in nature and some of the awesome trails that we have here, such as the Seven Tubs. And we love to walk around Lake Scranton. That’s one of my favorite places to go.

Chris: Like Genelle said, the Kirby Center is amazing. Things like that. Going out to eat.

 

What’s next for you?

Genelle: Of course, I want to keep growing my business and helping more students in our area, especially now that college prices are skyrocketing. We want to try to help as many local kids earn some scholarships and get acceptance into the universities of their choices. Then, they can come back here to Northeastern Pennsylvania and use their talents.

Chris: That’s the biggest thing we want to do. We want to help out the most families that we can. Especially from the business aspect, we really want to focus on the students: get your education, come back here, help other people. We’ve had so much involvement with the community that has helped us. We just want to help back on a bigger scale.

Genelle: And just personally, I work with a huge population of Hispanic students, so my personal goal is to get more people to be bilingual in the area, just to bridge that gap of communication. We do offer a lot of Spanish courses for kids. Hopefully once they start, they’ll grow older and teach their kids, and it will just become a bilingual area.

 

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

Genelle: I think that this area is going to be a really great place to do business. We have a lot of awesome things happening downtown here, and I think that, with working remotely, a lot of businesses can stay in Northeastern Pennsylvania and do business outside of here. The cost of living is low and reasonable, so I think it’s a great area that would attract a lot of young people.

Chris: It’s up and coming. You see a lot of things coming into the area—not just specifically Wilkes-Barre, but all of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Genelle: Look at downtown Pittston—the events that they have for kids, for families, for adults, the art walks. There’s definitely a lot of progress.

Chris: And we have some of the traditional things that we’ve always had, like the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Fine Arts Fiesta. I want to see more of that in the area. I see that coming back. It’s a big emphasis on the arts now.

 

Why NEPA?

Genelle: We have roots here. We have family here. We’re from here. We feel like we belong in this area because we have the history.

Chris: I see it as the place to be now. A lot of people are getting away from the big cities. They don’t want to be in Philadelphia. They don’t want to be in New York City. Like I said before, this is the perfect balance of both worlds. If you want to take a day trip there, go for it. If you want the serenity of nature, it’s right here in your backyard. You want concerts, you want plays, you want local entertainment—it’s here. You really have the best of everything you want right here.

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