Dr. Linda Cantu

Learnings from the Valued Youth Program – Podcast Episode 15 | Podcast Episode 15

Classnotes Podcast (June 28, 2007) The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school. This internationally-recognized program creates transformations in students, teachers, and schools. Since its inception in 1984, the lives of more than 220,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program. Linda Cantu, Ph.D., and Juanita García, Ph.D., discuss several things they have learned during more than two decades of experience with IDRA’s highly-successful dropout prevention program, the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. Linda and Juanita are interviewed by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas Parent Information and Resource Center.

Note: In 2019, the program name changed from “IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program” to “IDRA Valued Youth Partnership.”

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Show length: 20:43


IDRA Valued Youth Partnership program – Overview of the program and its philosophy, research-based design, program elements, evaluation design, recognition and awards, and getting started at your school.

“Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – Strengthening Student Connections with School”
by Linda Cantú, Ph.D., IDRA Newsletter

“Texas School Holding Power (Past, Present and Future)”
by Josie Danini Cortez, M.A., IDRA Newsletter

“’It Made Me Want to Do Better in School’ – Former Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Shares His Experience”
by Pablo López, IDRA Newsletter

“Coca-Cola Valued Youth College Tours – On the Road to College Success”
by Laurie Posner, MPA, IDRA Newsletter

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Show Notes

  • 02:20 Aurelio introduces the show topic – "Learnings from the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program" – and welcomes guests Linda Cantú, Ph.D. and Juanita García, Ph.D.

  • 03:12 Linda provides an overview of IDRA's Coca-Cola Valued Youth?Program. Linda explains the meaning of "valued youth." Linda explains how the program has been successful over the last 23 years, and notes that 98 percent of students who serve as tutors each year are promoted.

  • 06:17 Juanita talks about the success of Coca-Coca Valued Youth Program, based on her day-to-day dealings with the participant schools. Juanita describes a successful case study from a South Texas school, where students talked about the benefits they found as tutors in the program during an end-of-year banquet.

  • 08:56 Linda summarizes the quantitative data that is collected from students each year when evaluating the success of the program. Linda talks about the main questions that teachers and administrators pose to IDRA about the potential tutors when discussing whether to implement the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program: (1) Are the students capable? And (2) Will they be responsible enough to act as role models in the elementary schools? Linda says that teachers start to see the positive results with the student tutors in the first six weeks.

  • 11:58 Juanita reads some of the end-of-year reflections from the tutors. Juanita talks about the importance of the positive feedback that the elementary school teacher coordinators give to the tutors.

  • 14:35 Linda talks about a particular school where the secondary school teachers strongly questioned why at-risk students were being selected as tutors. She notes that after the success of the program in the first year, those teachers had come around and were recommending that more students participate.

  • 16:30 Aurelio asks how participating schools avoid the stigma of being labeled as "at risk."

  • 17:40 Linda reiterates that any stigma attached to the program usually goes away by the second year, once students, administrators, teachers and parents have seen its success.

  • 19:25 Juanita talks about the thoughtful ways in which the tutors use the stipends they receive for participating in the program.