BY JOHN BAILEY
For some middle school students, a school lunch is just another moment alone, unless you’re part of the Council on Adolescents Lunch Buddy Mentoring program.
“You know not everybody has a chance at having a Lunch Buddy, but it happened to me, and now I can’t imagine it not happening,” local student Blake said of her lunches with her mentor Kendall.
January is National Mentoring Month and an opportunity to reflect on one of the Catawba County United Way’s priorities, making sure all students have the tools they need to reach their potential.
To help make this happen, the CCUW supports several programs focused on improving literacy and school readiness, including the COA’s Lunch Buddy program.
“Every student could benefit from having an additional positive role model in their life, and that’s what the Lunch Buddy program provides,” Council on Adolescents Mentoring Program Coordinator Tracey Paul said. “COVID continues to be an issue, but we continue to find solutions to any barriers through lunch time and after school virtual and in person individual and group mentoring options.”
The program currently has 20 students in 10 schools: 2 elementary, 3 middle and 5 high schools. It is in the process of adding approximately 60 more students this month by partnering with Inspired Learning’s after school program at Grandview and Northview middle schools
According to mentoring.org, students with a mentor are 55 percent less likely to skip a day of school, 78 percent more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities and 130 percent more likely to hold a leadership position in a club or sports team.
To learn more about the mentoring relationship between Blake and Kendall, watch the Catawba County United Way video at THIS LINK.
To learn more about being a Council on Adolescents Lunch Buddy mentor visit THIS LINK.
To learn about other mentoring opportunities in Catawba County, contact the Catawba County United Way at 828-327-6851.