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Valued Youth Partnership

Nabeel Sattar

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2011 Essay Contest

Winner: High School Second Place

Nabeel Sattar
12th grade, Lee High School, Houston, Texas

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Coca Cola Valued Youth Program Essay

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has helped me in a variety of ways. It has given me new experiences that have made me a more compassionate and patient person. When the program first began, I had my doubts about it because I had never really worked with children, even though I have little brothers. I thought that the kids would not listen to me and would be out of control.

However, after I started tutoring, it opened up my eyes to many things. I witnessed the struggles my tutees go through, from reading to the constant stress of tests, and this has made me think differently about elementary school children. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has also made me in a more patient person. In order to tutor to the best of my abilities, I have to be patient with the tutees. For example, when my tutees were learning about fractions, they did not understand how one-half can be greater than one-third. Since one-half has a denominator of two and one-third has a denominator of three, they would pick one-half has the smaller fraction all the time. It took me several class periods to help them understand this concept, and I showed them by using blocks and everyday items to help them visualize what they were learning. If I had not been patient and used different ways to show them what they didn’t understand, they may have been discouraged about learning and would give up easily. My patience helps them learn at a comfortable pace and makes tutoring more effective.

It has also helped me with assisting my younger brothers with homework. Before the program started, I was not able to explain concepts that my brothers did not understand when they would ask me for help. I was very impatient and didn’t understand why my assistance didn’t work. I have now used the experience of tutoring and the patience I have gained to help my brothers and make homework a better experience for them. If it wasn’t for the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program, I would not have obtained these skills.

Since I started tutoring, I have also come to appreciate my teachers more. I understand the struggles they go through and how demanding and difficult their job is. Teaching appears to be an easy job, but it can be very tough because of all the different factors involved. The only way for me to understand this was through experience, and it has helped me give credit to all my teachers, in the present and in the past. The experiences I have had in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program have been very unique and eye opening, and the lessons I have learned have helped me become a better person in and outside of the classroom.


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 32,000 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 721,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program. Contact IDRA for more information or see the program website.