MAKING AN IMPACT…Mentors making a positive connection

(Pictured, Lunch Buddy Samuel and his Buddy at Harney Elementary School)

“I am incredibly grateful for the VPS Lunch Buddy program,” said Samuel, a Lunch Buddy at Harney Elementary School. “I cannot express the magnitude and impact that one hour a week makes for both the child AND adult.”

“Over the past two years, I’ve watched this young man grow and succeed. I was beyond honored to be invited by my Buddy’s mom to attend his promotion ceremony and see him off to middle school.”

The program, supported by funding from the Foundation, matches caring adults with elementary students who would benefit from having a consistent, positive role model. They meet weekly, first eating lunch together in the cafeteria, then enjoying time together doing things like playing games, reading, doing crafts or building with Legos.

When the Rotary Club of Greater Clark County adopted Hazel Dell Elementary as their Lunch Buddy school, Chereé, a Rotarian and former Board member for the Foundation for VPS, said “Yes!” What followed was a six year match with one special student– through her 5th grade graduation.

“The best part of seeing my Lunch Buddy every week was developing a heartfelt relationship with her,” Chereé shared. “When I asked my buddy what she liked the best, she said she felt special.”

During their match, Chereé’s Lunch Buddy experienced homelessness. “The impact of having lunch every week is not always apparent. They may not talk a lot on a particular day. However, when you hear from the staff and teachers how much of a difference you are making in their lives, it is all worth it!” said Chereé.

More Lunch Buddy mentors are needed for this school year – 80 students are waiting to be matched with a positive adult mentor. Contact Carla Feltz at 360-313-4718 or for additional information and to join other caring adults working to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.