Bulldog Bark

This year, S.M. Rissler Bright Futures Site Council initiated the Lunch Buddy Program. This
program is an excellent opportunity for adults from all walks of life to make a difference in the
life of a child. The Lunch Buddy program works to match positive, consistent adult mentors to
elementary aged youth at S.M. Rissler to improve student peer relationships and strengthen
positive connections to school.

A Lunch Buddy volunteer allows a student someone to eat with, someone to talk to, someone to listen to, and someone a child can depend on to be there for them. A Lunch Buddy volunteer dedicates themselves to meet with the child during the student’s lunch hour once every two weeks to help the child gain better relationships with their peers and feel better about their school community. Lunch Buddy volunteers may eat a school lunch or bring one of their own, and will sit with their lunch buddy for approximately 25 minutes. During this time, volunteers and buddies enjoy lunch together, share stories about common interests, read a book, or play a game.

So, what are the benefits to students? Research shows that a positive relationship with a
mentor can greatly enhance a child’s self-esteem, academic and long-term success.
Students in mentoring relationships are less likely to:
● miss school
● consume illegal drugs
● engage in school violence, or
● try alcohol or illegal drugs
Mentored students are more likely to:
● have higher GPAs
● go to college
● have positive relationships with parents and peers, and
● have a better attitude toward school, family, and careers.

The benefits of a program such as Lunch Buddies are endless. Current research suggests that children who have an adult mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college and 130% more likely to hold a leadership position later in life. (The Mentor Effect, 2014) Additionally, mentoring also encourages positive social relationships and has a lasting impact on a child's trust and communication skills. (The Role of Risk, 2013)

What are the benefits to mentors? Thirty minutes of a mentor’s time every other week pays
dividends to the student and to the community for years to come.
Mentors have the opportunity to:
● Share their talents, experience, and wisdom
● Gain deeper insight into the challenges that students and schools are facing in our
current culture
● Celebrate successes and learning opportunities

Be a part of developing a child's self-efficacy and helping them to say: "I CAN!"

If you are interested in positively impacting the life of a child in our community, sharing your
time, talent and treasure, I encourage you to volunteer to serve as a Lunch Buddy. For further
information, please contact Terri Critten or Tiffany Otto at S.M. Rissler Elementary School.