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Valued Youth Partnership

Omar Galvan

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program – 2012 Essay Contest

Winner: High School Third Place

View printable PDF version of his winning essay 

Omar Galvan
10th Grade, E.L. Furr High School, Houston

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has helped me become a better student in many different ways. It has helped me see the perspective of teachers toward teaching. It has helped me stay on track with my education. It also helped me reflect back in my community. These things have changed in my life and helped me become a more positive person since I’ve become a tutor in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program.

The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program helped me see the perspective of teachers toward teaching. I put myself in their shoes and witnessed how it was a struggle to be a teacher. They have to come up with lesson plans daily so they can know what they are going to teach. They have to keep all their students quiet and attentive to their lessons. I finally got to see how teachers struggle just to teach, because I tutor younger students and it’s a struggle. You have to keep them quiet all the time, teach them to respect their peers, and teach them to respect the materials given to them. But the hardest thing is to make sure they are learning and capturing what you are talking about. That’s the hardest obstacle in tutoring. But with time and patience, the students will understand.

This program has also helped me stay on track with my education. It helps me stay organized with schoolwork and other resources. The reason is, I see all the little children eager to learn and that shows me that I shouldn’t let go of opportunities that easily. Instead, I should take action to learn from them so I can be a responsible, successful person in life.

This program has also helped me to open up to my community. The way I see it, the kids are the future. Therefore, we should help them now to get them prepared for the real world – and our community also. We need to let them know that it’s safe to live in our community. That is why, in my free time, I tend to help out the community by going out to the park and looking around for things to do to make the community a better place.

As a result of these three things, the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program has helped me change not only in the classroom but also helped me open up my eyes to the real world and how we need to change to leave a good example for the younger ones behind us.


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 735,000 children, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program. Contact IDRA for more information or see the program website.