Everyone could use a buddy in life – which is why the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center started Lunch Buddies at Central Michigan University in 2005.
Lunch Buddies is a mentoring program developed to help elementary students form positive attitudes about school, encourage healthy eating and exercise habits, and gain a positive role model. The program pairs CMU students volunteering across campus with area elementary students to serve as their mentors.
Each Friday throughout the academic year, the mentors travel to their buddy’s school to spend lunch and recess with the students to encourage them to become more healthy and confident. The mentors work at a variety of elementary schools throughout the Mount Pleasant area including Morey Public School Academy, Ganiard Elementary, Pullen Elementary, Saginaw Chippewa Academy, Shepherd Elementary and Vowles Elementary.
Though the program operates to benefit the elementary students, mentors agree that everyone benefits and that working with their buddies has helped them to grow and develop, as well.