Valued Youth Partnership

Matthew Hernandez – 2022 Middle School Third Place Winner

Matthew HernandezMatthew Hernandez

8th Grade, Dwight Middle School, San Antonio Texas What tutoring means to me is a lot more than some job that I have been hired to do. It is more special than that. It provides me with the opportunity to bond and help children who do not understand subjects like math and/or reading. Even if I was not being paid, I would still volunteer to help because I like to see the tutees grow and learn to finally understand what did not make sense before.

Even though it can be challenging when trying to teach them what I already know, it is rewarding to see the tutees smile when they realize they can do the work on their own because they finally understand the assignment. We come from an underprivileged area in town, and not all parents have the time or the financial means to ensure their children are receiving the help they need to succeed.

I am a former student of F.M. Elementary, where I struggled to read fluently. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Speights, noticed that I was having a difficult time and took the time, at the end of her day, to offer tutoring to those of us who needed it. It made a difference in my ability to get that extra attention. I take this opportunity to pay it forward and give the tutees the same chances that were given to me.

Working in the Valued Youth Partnership program has given me a glimpse into a different career path. Before this year, I did not consider teaching as an option for my future. However, seeing the excitement of the tutees has moved me to reevaluate my feelings about teaching. I look forward to exploring my opportunities and maybe one day providing this opportunity to one of my own tutees.

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.