8th Grade, Alan B. Shepard Middle School, San Antonio
The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership tutoring program has helped me become a better person. You don’t realize how much kids struggle with reading, writing or math, whatever it is. They may struggle because their teacher cannot focus only on them. I feel like I help the kids a lot because we have three students, and we focus on them and only them.
The students I tutor have improved a lot. I have noticed it myself. For example, my kids could barely read and write, but we have had a few months to improve. They have worked on sounding the words out.
I also help my brother with his homework. He’s in kindergarten, and they get packets of homework to do. I help him with his sounds and how to make groups of numbers for all different types of homework I do with him. So tutoring the kids allows me to help him better. After me and my brother finish all his homework, I ask him if he understood more and if he says yes, I understand that I’m doing something right, so I make sure I do that with my students.
The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership is an amazing program. It has many great people and staff. We got to meet some of them for at least 50 minutes. They also inspired me to be a better person. They made their own organization and have had much success with the organization.
As I’m writing this, my kids are working on their sounds. Me and my kids have such a good bond. They are not afraid to ask for my help, and I’m so glad that I have made them comfortable enough to talk to me and tell me their thoughts. My kids are so smart. But at the beginning, they had a very hard time. We have worked on breaking up words to help them read better.
I had told some people I do this, and some judge us because they think we don’t help the students with anything or we just sit there on our phones. But that’s not what I do. I can’t just sit there while my kids need help. I love helping the kids with learning and watching them grow so much. It makes me a little sad that I won’t see them next year. But just knowing I have helped them so much makes me feel amazing that I have done so much for these kids.
One day, I saw my kids were struggling very much on something. After I finished school and practice, I took time in my free time and using the computer the IDRA program gave us I looked up ways to help my kids. I found worksheets, and using my mom’s printer, I printed a couple of different worksheets that have sounds and syllables of words so they can have different options.
I have learned things from my students too, because when I was in elementary, I was not the best kid. But I have learned from that. I have become a better person knowing there are some kids who struggle a lot. It made me realize, what’s the point of not paying attention or not listening to what they said? Because sometimes, when I’m tutoring my kids, they have no work done because they weren’t paying attention, so they don’t know how to do it. But I’m very patient with them. I know I have said this many times, but they have really made me a better person. They have made me more kind, respectful and patient. I now keep my grades up only to A’s and B’s to set a better example for them.
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.