Valued Youth Partnership

Juan García – 2019 Second Place High School Essay Winner

IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2019 Essay Contest

Juan García

10th Grade, South San Antonio High School, South San Antonio ISD, Texas

Since I became a tutor for the Coca Cola Valued Youth Program, the biggest change in my life is growing a sense of self value and learning the importance of maturity. The tutee that I will be sure to remember is Austin*. Being a tutor has helped change my outlook on life, and in this essay, I will bring light upon these details.

At first, I truly didn’t expect tutoring to make a difference in my attitude toward anything, but as I spent more time with my tutees I’ve noticed a difference in myself. I only expected this job to help me learn about teaching and prepare myself for a possible future as a teacher. I started the job still acting immature and making unnecessary jokes. But the understanding that I had that I couldn’t make jokes around the students helped me change. I felt more mature when my tutees trusted to ask me for help when they need it. Every time I go over to the elementary school, I feel a sense of value from my tutees.

Austin is the tutee that I help the most, and I find similarities between him and myself. He’s a bright student, but he doesn’t like to be wrong. When I was younger, I was the exact same way. I despised being wrong, and whenever I was, I would argue or get mad. I want to teach him the same lesson I learned, and that it is okay to learn from your mistakes and move on from them. He has a challenge paying attention to his work. He gets distracted quite easily and has issues listening. I hope to help change this about him. He doesn’t associate well with people he isn’t used to, but I’m glad that he opens up easily to me. I hope the best for Austin, and I mean this sincerely with all my heart.

Truly speaking, throughout my life, so far, I haven’t had a good outlook on life. I wouldn’t say my life has had many issues, but saying that it’s been good seems to be a slight stretch. I take life as it comes, and there’s not much in this world I could say I cared about. My tutees have brought light upon the good that still exists in this world. Having something to care about is what makes us human. I’ve begun to care more about myself and those close to me, and I care about my tutees. I enjoy being with my tutees because I’m able to teach them and at the same time they are teaching me.

This is the point in which I choose to conclude my essay. I’ve learned a lot from my tutees, and I know that I will continue to learn. I thank you for taking the time to read this paper.

*names changed for privacy

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.