United Way and Bellefontaine Intermediate School are recruiting adult role models to match with 3rd graders in a new Lunch Buddies mentoring program this school year. A volunteer would commit to visit school once a month, developing a special one-on-one friendship over the course of the year with a child through lunch chats, encouragement, and games.
Lunch Buddies is modeled after a long-time program in Troy City Schools and another conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters in Union County. Who would think that a half hour a month could make a difference? But as a mentor and child are paired over the course of the year, a relationship of trust forms. And the models have proven to improve the mental health of children participating.
"I am excited to see this program be introduced!" said Krista Adelsberger, Principal of Bellefontaine Intermediate School. "Positive adult role models have an astounding effect on students. Regular interactions such as a monthly lunch date, can improve a child's social skills, self-esteem, and ultimately their attitude and success in school. What a great way to model for our children the wonderful community in which they are fortunate enough to live!"
That it happens in the confines and safety of the school setting provides manageable expectations and boundaries for volunteer mentors, who find fulfillment in sharing time and experiences with their Lunch Buddy.
Volunteer orientation to be a Lunch Buddy will occur on Wednesday September 7 OR Thursday September 8 from 11:50 to 12:20 at Bellefontaine Intermediate School. Prospective volunteers will need to complete a background check (paid for by United Way) and commit to having lunch with a 3rd grader on one of two designated days every month for throughout the school year.
"This is a perfect opportunity for someone who has some flexibility during the middle of the day and wants to make a real, tangible difference in someone's life," said Dave Bezusko, United Way Executive Director.
The program addresses two components of United Way's Strategic Plan: To increase services that benefit Mental Health in Logan County and to provide more ways for volunteers to be active in our community.
Those wishing to be Lunch Buddies can click here to RSVP for one of the two Volunteer Orientations. Or call United Way at (937) 592-2886 for more information.