Valued Youth Partnership

Shannell García – 2024 Third Place Middle School Reflection Winner

Shannell Garcia Shannell García

8th Grade, Dwight Middle School, San Antonio

How Tutoring Has Helped Me

Tutoring has helped me because I have learned a lot from it. In the start, I was only in the IDRA Valued Youth Partnership for the money, but I have changed my way of seeing this program. I used to think this program would teach me nothing, but the truth is it has changed me as a person.

I was greedy, and I didn’t like kids. Now I like seeing my tutees and helping them. I like going to the elementary school and having the kids say “Hi” to me, and seeing their faces light up when I walk into the room. I found myself enjoying helping them all even if they aren’t in the tutee group, and seeing these kids makes me smile more than ever. Tutoring has helped me learn about topics I don’t remember, especially when talking with the kids about the things they are learning.

I have grown connections with my tutees Emily and Sade,* and they look up to me and have helped me come out of my shell. In a specific way Emily has helped me a lot. And I’ve helped her do things she was really struggling with, like learning how to multiply or how to do equations on her own and learning how to depend on herself for help. I’ve helped her learn how to write neatly and how to write her name in cursive.

It might not be the most important thing to learn, but it’s important to me as it’s a core memory for me. Seeing her complete things and seeing her pass tests, or even seeing her get a good grade makes me feel happy and proud. I don’t think about me when she gets a good grade, I think about how it makes her feel about herself. Having her be happy or be proud of herself makes me happy and feel proud of her for everything she’s done. I might not say it enough, but I’m very proud of her and she makes a difference in my life all the time.

Sade is very funny, energetic and very smart. Sade learns new topics easily, but I am still able to help her learn certain skills and content. Sometimes, she knows how to solve problems and make people around her happy and laugh. I’ve helped her to solve math problems and to understand how to be more open about how she feels. Seeing her sad or disappointed about her work makes me hurt since she’s such a hard-working kid. She makes core memories for me every day whether it’s telling her to focus or giving her a boost of confidence in her to get a good grade. She’s a very special person to me and everyone around her.

Seeing these students grow and change how they do their work and seeing them use their strategies to accomplish tasks makes me happy and feel a sense of accomplishment. I’m so proud watching them succeed and do great things. The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership has taught me how to be a leader and to be responsible. I don’t have enough words to describe the bond I have with my tutees. This program has helped me to grow into the person I want to be, and I’m very grateful to be a tutor.

*Tutor names changed for privacy.

See the booklet with all the winning reflections from 2024 (pdf).

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The IDRA Valued Youth Partnership is a research-based cross-age tutoring program. According to the Valued Youth creed, all students are valuable, none is expendable. The lives of more than 737,000 students, families and educators have been positively impacted by the program.