• IDRA Newsletter • May 2024 • 2023-24 VYP contest cover blue

Tutors Share Stories of the Program’s Impact on Their Lives

Ten students received prizes in a national competition among participants in the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership program, our nationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program. The VYP tutors artfully shared how the program helped them do better in school and how they had helped their tutees to do better. This year, IDRA opened the contest beyond essays for students to submit poetry or artwork if they chose. See our booklet with the winners’ full entries.

High School First Place

Monserrat García Monserrat Garcia

9th Grade, Odessa High School

Ector County ISD, Texas

In her essay in Spanish, Monserrat wrote: “Este programa realmente me ha dado fuerza. También he visto cómo los niños no se dan por vencidos por lo que quieren hacer o aprender… Así es como veo las cosas. Si un niño no renuncia a lo que quiere lograr, yo tampoco debería renunciar.” [“This program has really given me strength. I have also seen how children do not give up for what they want to do or learn… Now that’s how I see things. If a child doesn’t give up on what he wants to achieve, I shouldn’t give up either.”]

High School Second Place

Roslynne Ortíz Roslynne Ortíz

11th Grade, Odessa High School

Ector County ISD, Texas

Roslynne submitted artwork. (See the full color version.)

RO HS1 Painting

High School Third Place (tie)

Michelle Villegas

10th Grade, Odessa High School

Ector County ISD, Texas

Michelle submitted a poem excerpted below:

“Since I became a tutor

I know what it is to feel proud

María got a 100 on her Sirius assignment

Alex has no missing assignments

Jorden started answering questions in class.

Since I became a tutor

My days became better

My kids give me a hug every time I walk in the classroom.”

High School Third Place (tie)

Alondra HolguinAlondra Holguín

11th Grade, Odessa High School

Ector County ISD, Texas

Alondra submitted an essay saying: “Tutoring, to me, means to change someone for the better. As a child who has struggled with all the subjects, even now, I’m so glad I got a tutee… I’ve seen so much progress in these kids… I can’t say this enough, but I am so proud of them, so incredibly proud… I get excited just to come to school. I would always hate coming, but I always tell myself now I can go, and I can do it… I love this program, my teacher, and my little tutees.”

Middle School First Place

Serena SanchezSerena L. Sánchez

8th Grade, Alan B. Shepard Middle School South San Antonio ISD, Texas

Serena’s poem included the following:

“Since I became a tutor, my heart has grown wide,

With love and compassion, for each student inside.

I’ll keep on guiding, supporting and cheering them on,

For the joy of learning is a journey that’s never done.”

Middle School Second Place

Nathan GomezNathan Gómez

8th Grade, Dwight Middle School, South San Antonio ISD, Texas

Nathan wrote in his essay: “There have been days where I think to myself, ‘This is too hard.’ But I know that this program isn’t just about teaching little children at the elementary school, it is about helping us evolve as people and get ready for the future. By being in this program, I have seen so much growth and improvement in myself, and I am very grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program!”

Middle School Thrid Place

Shannell GarciaShannell García

8th Grade, Dwight Middle School, South San Antonio ISD, Texas

In her essay, Shannell wrote: “Seeing these students grow and change how they do their work and seeing them use their strategies to accomplish tasks makes me happy and feel a sense of accomplishment. I’m so proud watching them succeed and do great things. The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has taught me how to be a leader and to be responsible. I don’t have enough words to describe the bond I have with my tutees. This program has helped me to grow into the person I want to be, and I’m very grateful to be a tutor.”

IDRA awarded honorable mentions to Ariel Morones, 8th Grade, Alan B. Shepard Middle School (essay) and Liliana Presas, 8th Grade, Robert C. Zamora Middle School (essay), both in South San Antonio ISD.

IDRA also invited fourth grade students in a pilot program at Franz Leadership Academy in Judson ISD, San Antonio, to submit entries as posters. Winners were: First Place, Vivianna Caballero; Second Place, Jordyn Morris; and Third Place, Nadia Barrientez (see their posters).

Valued Youth Partnership Helps Students Build their Socio-Emotional Skills

The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has provided leadership experiences for students all over the country. It increases students’ connectedness, academic achievement, self-efficacy and self-esteem by placing students in leadership positions.

VYP’s key philosophy of valuing youth’s gifts and developing social skills can provide leadership experiences for students who most need engagement.

The program has demonstrated tremendous success in helping students focus on their education and increasing the school’s holding power by concentrating on students with the highest need of support. For almost four decades, VYP has kept 35,500 students in school and positively impacted the lives of 750,000 children, families and educators!

[© 2024, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May edition of the IDRA Newsletter. 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.]