Valued Youth Partnership

Melakii Uribe

IDRA Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2016 Essay Contest

Winner: Middle School Third Place

View printable PDF version of this winning essay 

Melakii Uribe
8th Grade, Zamora Middle School, South San Antonio ISD, Texas


How Tutoring Has Helped Me

When I first saw my schedule, I saw that one of classes was the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program; honestly, I didn’t know what it was. When I went to that class, the teacher talked to us about what it was about. She said, “This class is about going to Benavides Elementary and tutoring kids to help us become positive leaders.” When I heard her say that, I looked around and noticed everyone who was there were people who didn’t have good grades. When I stopped looking around, in my mind I asked: “Why me? What was the reason I was there?” I was questioning myself because I couldn’t keep my grades up. “What makes them think that I’m able to tutor a little kid?”

We were in the class for two weeks so we could learn what to do. Well the day came when it was time to go to Benavides Elementary. I met a boy named Roy*. He had trouble writing. I went up to him. I froze and thought of things to say, but words never came out of my mouth. We walked back, and I just kept thinking about him and his problem with spelling and decided to help teach him to respect all of the students who corrected him and to remain positive when it happened.

Tutoring has helped me in many different ways. It has helped me personally, because as a person, I used to be unhappy. But after being In the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, I started to see how the elementary students became excited when I walked into the class. It made me happy. At first, I felt awkward but then I got used to it. When I walked in the classroom, their faces light up, and I want to hug them. They run up to me and hug me tight. One of the students didn’t want to let go, and he told me, “I love you.”

This program changed my attitude as well, because my attitude was negative in the beginning. I’ve started to respect people more. The students [tutees] taught me how to have confidence and how to make other people happy too. It also has helped me to be more respectful to my family and teachers and classmates. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a great program for kids who get in trouble, like me. I’ve been getting into trouble since I can remember. I am a different person when I am in class with my tutees. I am the one setting the example and helping them with work. I thought I wasn’t smart enough to help them, but now I know I am. In the end, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished through this program. I thought I was tutoring and helping Roy, but, really, he was helping me.

*name changed for privacy