Lunch Buddies Program
Developing self-esteem and life skills through interactions with positive adult role models.
Make a difference in the life of a child and become a Lunch Buddy!
Students are more likely to succeed if they have a mentor. It could be a parent, a teacher, a coach — someone special who keeps an eye out for a student in need. Sadly, hundreds of VPS students do not have positive adult role models in their lives.
Lunch Buddies make a difference by:
- Showing the students that their community cares about them.
- Building students’ trust and confidence.
- Often improving student attendance.
- Helping students learn and improve their self-image.
Currently, 19 VPS elementary schools participate in the Lunch Buddy program. More than 100 children are on the wait list, most of them boys, making the need for male mentors especially critical.
Here’s how the program works:
- Students are referred by their teachers, counselors, or school administrators.
- Once a parent signs the permission form, students are matched with an adult.
- Buddies typically meet on school grounds with their assigned student once a week, for about 45 minutes, for the duration of the school year.
- Lunch can be followed by board games, reading, crafts, or just talking.
As a volunteer mentor, you’ll be given the option of the school(s) you would like to support and your day preference for meeting with an assigned student buddy. This is a year-long volunteer commitment. It requires volunteers to be consistent in attendance each week with the same student, working toward the goal of developing life-long skills that model purpose and potential.
For more information, email LunchBuddy@vansd.org or call the Foundation at (360) 313-4730.
Ready to sign up? Please visit the Vancouver Public School Volunteer website. Note: Before being matched with a student, all applicants must first pass a background check.
During spring of 2016, the Foundation managed a 9-week pilot program for girls at Harney and Washington Elementary Schools. Girls Inc. develops age appropriate, research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Curriculum can be tailored to the needs of the school, such as math and science education, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, and violence prevention.
The Foundation has provided girls mentoring services since 2009 through the Young Women in Action (YWIA) program. This program began at Washington Elementary in 1993 when a local woman’s leadership organization, Women in Action, created a foundation to provide mentoring to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program was run entirely local community business women who volunteered their time and energy, building relationships with girls who were heading into middle school. The goal of YWIA was to encourage fifth grade girls to have confidence, faith in their ability to make the “right” choices and allow them to see the world through a different set of eyes.
The Foundation is working in cooperation with Vancouver Public Schools and the Family Community Resource Center Coordinators to continue offering mentoring programs to even more students.