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Valued Youth Partnership

Johan Servones

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2014 Essay Contest

Winner:Middle School Third Place

View printable PDF version of this winning essay 

Johan Servones
7th grade, Captain Manuel Rivera, Jr. PS/MS279, New York City

Since I became a tutor in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, my dream of becoming a teacher is coming true. When I was in the sixth grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher. A teacher who inspired me to follow this dream was Mr. Smith, my math teacher. He taught us in so many different ways, he allowed all of us to grow and learn. For example, in a fraction question he taught us multiple strategies to solve the problem, and we were encouraged to choose our favorite one. Another way he has inspired me is because he believes that we need to be respectful and follow the rules because it is an important life skill. In this tutoring program, I want my tutees to be inspired and start to think about what they want to be in the future, just like my teacher has inspired me.

When I was given the opportunity to teach tutees from kindergarten, John, Jane and Bobby*, I realized that I was taking some important steps toward reaching my dream of becoming a teacher because I was practicing. I have grown with my tutees and have seen an improvement in how they have developed their skills in their work. In the process of helping my tutees, I realized that everyone learns at their own pace and in different ways. Being a tutor is not easy because kindergarteners need a lot of attention and patience. They move around a lot, cry and sometimes need a lot of help and assistance. Even though all of these are required of and from me this act of tutoring is something I really love to do.

I love being in this program and spending time with my three tutees. Being in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has helped me think more about my own dream and has helped me realize that I know it will come true. First, I have to obtain specific professional qualifications or credentials from a university or college. Next, I know I will have to become certified to begin my teaching career. I know this all will take time and dedication, but I am ready for the challenge.

I hope that I can continue to tutor throughout my middle school and high school years as well. I am confident and excited that my dream is just starting!

*name changed for privacy


The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, created by IDRA, is an internationally-recognized cross-age tutoring program. Since its inception in 1984, the program has kept more than 33,000 students in school, young people who were previously at risk of dropping out. According to the Valued Youth creed, all students are valuable none is expendable. The lives of more than 787,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program. Contact IDRA for more information or see the program website.