By Cierra Putman
ECTOR COUNTY - At risk teens in Ector County are getting help thanks to a school tutoring program, but they're not the ones being tutored. Instead, they are tutoring elementary kids.
The program is finishing up its third year in Odessa, but teachers are already seeing the results.
After a year of tutoring elementary kids, members of the Coca Cola Valued Youth Program are now reflecting on a year of improvement.
"It's been a great experience," Permian Senior, Stephanie Garcia said.
It's a class where teens tutor in exchange for school credits and pay.
Monday through Thursday, the students get on a bus and leave high school and arrive at one of three elementary schools; Sam Houston, Goliad or Dowling.
Teachers say the best part is the teens grades are improving and more are graduating.
"I've seen a great improvement in attendance," School Teacher, Michelle Galindo, said. "They're not going to let their little "tudies" down. They call them "tudies." They're going to make sure that they're there every day because they're counting on them, they're waiting on them."
It even helped Stephanie find her calling.
"I always wanted to go to college," she said. "Now I'm more interested in being a teacher."
The national program began in 1984, but it's only in its third year at ECISD.
Yet, in that time, it's grown into a year long course for 75 students.
"It's an awesome program and it gives them leadership skills, college readiness and a belonging," Galindo said. "They are interviewed they are chosen. They are handpicked for it. They do go through a process."
Galindo hopes it continues to expand.
"We want to have it in junior highs as well," she said. "The earlier intervention the better."