• by Wendy Ramirez • IDRA Newsletter • May 2010 • 

Editor’s Note: IDRA sponsored a national essay competition among participants in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, a nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program of IDRA. Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program tutors wrote about how the program had helped them do better in school and how they had helped their tutees to do better. Six students received prizes. Below is the essay of the first place winner at the middle school level.

Middle School First Place
Wendy Ramirez
Eighth grade, Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School, La Joya ISD

Mi experiencia de estar en el Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program es algo que me llena de satisfacción. Es el poder servir y ayudar a los niños. En el poco tiempo que tengo en el programa de Coca‑Cola Valued Youth Program me he dado cuenta de la responsabilidad que se me ha brindado y no voy a defraudar a los estudiantes. En ningún momento me he sentido superior por ser una estudiante que está involucrada en VYP, al contrario yo creo que todos podemos servir en alguna área.

Las experiencias que he vivido con mis estudiantes son numerosas. En ocasiones, me voy con los rostros de mis estudiantes en mi pensamiento. Al llegar a mi casa planeo en qué les voy a ayudar el día siguiente. El estar en VYP he aprendido ser más responsable y me he dado cuenta que mi forma de pensar sobre la educación y la necesidad de seguir en la escuela se ha transformado de un “talvez” a un “si.” Me motiva el saber que mis niños quieren seguir mi ejemplo porque en repetidas ocasiones me han dicho, “Wendy, yo quiero ser como tu cuando crezca.”

Les voy a compartir algo chistoso. Me hice un cambio en mi cabello colocándome unos rayitos. Y unas de mis niñas me dijeron que se querían poner el cabello como yo. Después de esos comentarios me di cuenta que mi ejemplo y mi comportamiento y hasta mi manera de vestir va a influir en su desarrollo. Hoy, más que nunca, me he propuesto esforzarme ser un buen ejemplo gracias a Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.

Desde que entré me he puesto a pensar en el futuro y que mi ayuda les podrá servir a mis estudiantes. En ese pensamiento también me incluye a mí y los cambios que ha habido en mí. Antes yo pensaba que el seguir en la escuela era una perdida de tiempo y que mis hermanos no necesitaban de mi ayuda, que ellos solos deberían seguir adelante. Pero todos estos pensamientos cambiaron desde que entré a éste programa. Ahora reconozco que al seguir en la escuela es un bien que le haré a mi futuro y a los que me rodean, especialmente que he ayudado a mis hermanos mas y [ellos] han levantado sus grados. Me siento muy feliz y creo que ningún de estos cambios fueran ocurrido si no fuera por el ayuda que me ha dado Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.

English translation

My experience of being in Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is something that fills me with the satisfaction of being able to serve and help the tutees. In just a short time I have been in the Coca‑Cola Valued Youth Program, I have come to realize the responsibility that the tutees have offered me and I am not going to disappoint them. At no time have I felt superior to anyone for being a student who is involved in VYP. On the contrary, I believe that we can all serve in some area.

The experiences that I have lived with my students are numerous. Sometimes I go home with the faces of my students in my thoughts. When I arrive home, I plan what I am going to help them with the following day. In being in the Coca‑Cola Valued Youth Program, I have learned to be more responsible. And the way I think of education and the need to continue in school has been transformed from a “maybe” to a “yes I can.” It motivates me that my tutees want to follow my example. Frequently, they say to me, “Wendy, when I grow up, I want to be like you.”

I am going to share something humorous…I made a change in my hair by getting highlights, and some of the girl tutees said to me that they wanted to make their hair look like mine. After those comments about me, I realized that my example and my behavior and even the way I dress is going to influence the tutees’ development. And today more than ever, I have proposed to myself to make an effort of being a good example thanks to the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.

Since I entered the program, I have thought about the future and how I have helped the tutees. In these thoughts, I have included myself and the changes in me. Before, I thought that staying in school was a waste of time, that my brothers did not need my assistance and that they should move ahead on their own. But all those thoughts changed since I entered this program. Now, I realize that staying in school is good for my future and for those who surround me, and especially that I have helped my brothers more. Thanks to my help, they have improved their grades, and I feel very happy. I believe that none of these changes would have happened without the help that the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has given me.


Resources

For more information on the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program contact IDRA at 210-444-1710 or contact@idra.org or visit www.idra.org/coca-cola-valued-youth-program/


Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA at feedback@idra.org.


[©2010, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May 2010 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]

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