Valued Youth Partnership

Carly Oliver – 2023 Second Place High School Essay Winner

Carly OliverCarly Oliver

10th Grade, Odessa High School, Odessa, Texas How Has IDRA Impacted My Life

The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has made me a better student because it has taught me how to be more responsible with my time and learning skills. IDRA has also taught me how to better communicate and interact with students and people in our community. Before VYP, I would never talk to anyone I didn’t know, and I was always scared to speak my mind. Answering simple questions during class was challenging. But now, I know that my opinions are important, and I won’t get anywhere if I keep my questions to myself. I am more brave now and have more confidence.

Tutoring students has helped me in many different ways. It has helped me be more observant in what my student is doing because they need my full focus, because if she gets stuck or is having difficulties with the assignment we are working on and I’m not paying attention to her, she will not get the help she needs. It has helped me be more interactive with people because having more involvement with the students helps them and me be more comfortable in the classroom and to learn without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also helped me be a happier person overall because being with my student brings me so much joy and happiness because of how much she loves coming to tutoring and how she always has a smile on her face as soon as she sees me. And she always has a new story to tell me every time she sits down.

Tutoring means so much to me in a lot of ways because of being in the program and getting to experience what it feels like to be the educator instead of the student. Getting the feeling that you are helping a person with skills they will need for the rest of their lives makes you feel so important and good with yourself. And it has really shown me the impact I can have on a person’s life and mindset.

When I first started VYP, I didn’t think that I could ever have a meaning in a person’s life. But being in VYP has shown me that my presence matters, and I do have a meaning in a student’s life one way or another. This class has shown me how much meaning I can have in the world, and it makes me extremely proud.

Me and my tutee get along and have clicked in a way I never thought would happen when I started VYP. She is always so excited to see me and gets sad on the days we won’t be going up to the school and always says how much she misses me. There has been a huge difference in the way we started and how we are now. I have figured out different ways to make learning for her easier and more understandable, and it has helped her way more than I thought it would and she absolutely loves it. I still can’t believe how much we have accomplished in learning together, and I cannot believe it has come to an end as quickly as it has.

What I will always remember the most about the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership is the way the students’ faces light up when they walk into the classroom. It makes everyone’s day so much brighter.

Another thing I will remember is how to shut off the world I had made myself so that I never had to talk to anyone new that I didn’t already know or get embarrassed. But now I am more open to the world. And I’m not as scared to be the person who speaks up and say how I feel even if others don’t necessarily agree with me. Because my voice matters and I shouldn’t feel restricted because of what other might think about me because their opinions on that don’t matter.

See color highlights flier for 2023 (pdf).

See the booklet with all the winning essays from 2023 (pdf).

The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership 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 725,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program.