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.

      All 21 VPS elementary schools have the opportunity to participate in the Lunch Buddy program. There are typically more children waiting for a buddy, than there are mentors. There is especially a need for male mentors.

      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 or call Carla Feltz at (360) 313-4718.

      Ready to sign up? Please visit the Vancouver Public School Volunteer website

    • Note: Due to COVID-19 and physical distancing requirements, check the district’s website for current policies relating to in-person volunteer activities. Before being matched with a student, all applicants must first pass a background check.

      Would your business, like to sponsor this program? Contact Melinda Cannell at or (360) 313-4734.

      Funding for Other Mentoring Program

      Each school year, working in cooperation with Vancouver Public Schools and the Family Community Resource Centers, the Foundation for VPS provides funding to bring mentoring programs to elementary, middle, and high schools.

      Below is a list of some of the partners providing programming:

      • Police Activities League
      • Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington
      • Saturday Academy
      • Girls Inc.
      • Teach One to Lead One
      • Young Women in Action