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Valued Youth Partnership

Elizabeth Sauceda – 2022 Middle School Second Place Winner

Elizabeth SaucedaElizabeth Sauceda

8th Grade, Dwight Middle School, San Antonio Texas Since I became a tutor, I have had a clearer mind and understanding of things. I listen more in class and am eager to learn more. I find that it is good for my health to spend time with children, and I love helping my tutees. They listen and, if they have problems, they have no problem asking me for help. I believe that, since I became a tutor, my mind has expanded more than I would have imagined, and I even gained a more positive attitude and focus in class.

Each day I wake up, I wake up thrilled to go to the elementary school, Athens. I used to wake up exhausted, wanting to skip school – which I actually did out of being burnt out – and falling asleep in some of my classes, like math or English language arts.

When I went to Athens to tutor, I wanted to be a role model for the students at Athens. So, I started to sleep earlier, pay attention to class, actually do some more work and started to think more positively. I even started to be happier at home and nicer to my siblings, which led to me helping them more often with homework or in little projects for school. For example, last year my siblings needed to make a Halloween jack-o-lantern. I helped them by helping to sketch the face.

I like going to Athens to work. Even if I didn’t get paid, I still would have volunteered. At Athens, I can speak both languages if the teachers ask me to or, if a child doesn’t understand, I can help explain. At home, I speak Spanish, so it’s a habit to speak Spanish primarily to others I know who also speak that language. At school, I speak mostly English because most students and teachers I speak with may only speak English.

The reason I wanted to work as a tutor for Athens was that I wanted to save money to help my mom. I so wanted some type of work experience, even if it’s not really the type of job I’ll be doing frequently outside of school. But it’s still something. I enjoy doing other than our work in class during school hours.

I am very thankful to IDRA Valued Youth Partnership for allowing me to participate in the program. I love this work, and I want to continue it, meaning I don’t want to get kicked out or back out. I feel so much better helping other younger kids other than my siblings who can make things more difficult. My uncle dropped out of high school so that he could get engaged to his girlfriend. I found that dumb, but I guess I can’t judge him. That was his choice, not mine.

I think that maybe since I became a tutor, I might have chosen teaching as a possible career in the future. Since I became a tutor, my world has changed a lot. I am more optimistic, and I pay attention in class so that I can see the students from Athens. I also feel the need to be more respectful around others. I hate being disrespectful, and I don’t like being a bad influence. Touring really has changed and helped me in many good ways.


See color highlights flier for 2022 (pdf).

See the booklet with all the winning essays from 2022 (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.