Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program

Daniela Urquidi – 2018 Second Place High School Essay Winner

IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2018 Essay Contest

Daniela Urquidi 

12th Grade, Odessa High School, Ector County ISD, Texas

In all honesty, I had no idea that the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program even existed until a friend told me about it. When I asked more about the program, she let me know that they tutored elementary kids. I thought that was nice and all, but after she said that they got paid for it is when I wanted in.

I was never too psyched over kids until I had my own last year. I thought to myself, how I wish I could have had some extra help in school as a little girl. I’ve always struggled with math and science, and it would have been nice if I could have had someone to help build me up where I was weak. I wonder how different school could have been for me if I would have had a tutor to educate and help me understand things like math; I think about how much better I could have been. Because of that, I decided that I wanted to do and be that for someone else’s child. I would want my son to have any extra help he needed if it was necessary.

As a tutor, I learned how difficult it really is to be on the other side of education and become the teacher. My teachers deserve all of the credit they can get because of everyone they have to deal with daily. The tutees who I was assigned to this year have taught me so much over the time I’ve spent with them. They taught me and reminded me how essential education is and that you’ll need it throughout a lifetime. They taught me patience and kindness – something that I lacked and needed. They taught me about life, things I never knew I needed, all while I was teaching them things they would need in life as well. The fact that you never really know what’s going on in another’s household is another reason it makes this opportunity so special. I feel that I’ve grown such a strong bond with my tutees just because I don’t know what all goes on in their lives outside of school, and I accept them anyway.

I may be the adult figure or friend that they needed in their lives, someone that they can come to in search of guidance, comfort or even play the role of a secret keeper. I’ve realized that the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is more than just tutoring little kids. It’s also you becoming part of an innocent child’s life and them becoming part of yours. Knowing that, at the end of the school year, I may lose all contact with my tutees saddens me and breaks my heart. However, I go on knowing that everything I taught them will go with them for the rest of their lives. The knowledge I have given them will leave an imprint on their lives, and everything that they taught me will forever leave an imprint on mine, making it all worthwhile.


See color highlights flier for 2018 (pdf).

See the booklet with all the winning essays from 2018 (pdf).

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, created by IDRA, is an internationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program. According to the Valued Youth creed, all students are valuable, none is expendable. The lives of more than 718,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program.