• IDRA Newsletter • January 1999

A national media event sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation was held in December to announce the implementation of the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program in Chicago. A community breakfast was held at Pilsen Elementary School and highlighted tutors from Benito Juarez High School. More than 60 school administrators, teachers and community members, as well as local newspaper, television and radio reporters attended the event.

“The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is an example of how businesses can work together with educators to truly make a difference,” said Paul Vallas, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. ”The program is innovative in that students at risk of dropping out and often failing are tutoring younger students, and both groups are reaping the benefits of increased attendance, improved academic performance and decreased disciplinary problems. In this program everybody wins.”

Tutors from Benito Juarez High School spoke about how the program has helped them develop better self-esteem and a reason to stay in school. An evaluation of participants at their school during the 1997 school year found that tutors attended school regularly and received less disciplinary action referrals – a decreased average from 2.7 to 1.6.

Parents also reported a positive change in their children’s attitude or behavior toward school. According to parents, the program especially helped their children to be more responsible or mature, do homework, be a better student, have a positive attitude or behavior, stay out of trouble, be more interested in school and be more patient.

The program was introduced last year in five schools in Chicago: Benito Juarez High School, J.C. Orozco Community Academy, John Marshall High School, Pilsen Elementary School, and Faraday Elementary School.

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, created by the IDRA, is an internationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program in schools across the United States, Puerto Rico, Great Britain and Brazil. For more than 14 years, IDRA and The Coca-Cola Foundation have worked together in a unique partnership that is making a visible difference in the lives of more than 68,500 children, families and educators.

For more information e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©1999, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 1999 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.]