Valued Youth Partnership

Fatima Valseca – 2019 Second Place Middle School Essay Winner

IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2019 Essay Contest

Fatima Valseca

7th Grade, New Open World Academy, Los Angeles USD, California

Since I Became a Tutor
The first day I was introduced to the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program was September 7, 2018, on a Friday. When I was offered this life-changing course, the first thing I did was call my mom. My mom is a foreigner just like me, so this meant a lot. She has worked so hard and seeing a member of the household that she’s built prosper is more than she can ask for. At first, I wasn’t scared because I had tutored before but on a much smaller scale. The closer the days got, the more anxious I became.

This program has had a drastic effect on my education. Before I was a tutor, my grades weren’t so good, and I was close to failing the most important subjects: math and English. I apply everything I learn while helping kids to everything I do. I have learned about responsibility because I am a mentor to all of the kids before me. Most importantly my commitment has improved like no other. I am very disoriented, and I used to be careless at times but now I know I have to commit to finish the things I start.

I’ve never known much about kids. I am the youngest in my family. I didn’t understand the true meaning of tutoring, but now I do. Tutoring isn’t just helping kids find an answer. It’s building a bond with your tutees because that is how you gain a kid´s trust. I have three tutees, and I am so genuinely happy that I know exactly why I’m helping them and how to help them because they are the three things I’ve cared the most about in a long time. One of my tutees deals with behavior issues. Another tutee deals with motivation issues, and my other tutee deals with reading issues. I love knowing that I am making a difference in these kids’ lives by motivating them daily and making simple reminders, such as “Good Job,” and seeing how these reminders lift their spirits. When I first met my tutees and the classroom that I was tutoring in, I was nervous, especially because I will be teaching my kids English. English really doesn’t bring good memories since I struggled when I was their age to learn English and was embarrassed to speak it because I had an accent.

Being a teacher seems like an easy task, well it isn’t one bit. I was scared to teach because I know I don’t have much patience. I didn’t want to be mean. I didn’t want them to cry. A lot of these thoughts rushed through my head because I knew so much could happen. But that’s why my lessons before tutoring were so helpful because I knew what to do in any situation. These lessons made me confident while teaching. For instance, I learned how to break down math problems in order to make it easier for them to understand. This also made me a better tutor, because in order to teach something I need to know how to do it myself. It also made me a better student because I can apply these strategies in my own classes. I have learned throughout this whole process that every kid is different, but each is unique and amazing.

The Coca Cola Valued Youth Program made me strong, wise and definitely more confident. I know this program will even change the way I will be with my kids in the future. I have learned a lot about kid behavior. I will be thinking about picking education as my career. I feel like it was what I was meant to do. It won’t be easy, but nothing that is worth trying for is.

See color highlights flier for 2019 (pdf).

See the booklet with all the winning essays from 2019 (pdf).

The IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program 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.