Mentor's Corner

I am now in my 5th year of being a lunch buddy, and I can tell you that I have enjoyed every minute of it. It is such a wonderful and easy way to mentor to someone who just needs a friend to interact with. I can have a crazy hectic day at work, then spend an hour with my lunch buddy to help put things in perspective. Having a lunch buddy reminds you of what's important!

"This is my fifth year being a lunch buddy mentor. I am also a teacher at the school, but being a lunch buddy allows me to have a different relationship with a child than just the teacher/student one. By being a lunch buddy I provide a much needed listening ear and positive attitude for my student. Whether it is playing a game of basketball or just sitting and talking, I provide my lunch buddy with the love and encouragement she needs to be a successful student and member of the community. At the end of our weekly lunch time together I always walk away with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. I know my lunch buddy does, too!"

"I have had two different lunch buddies with the Redmond El program and they have both been very meaningful for me. I signed up initially because I thought that the students would be the one that would benefit. But after each week I am the one that goes away with the positive experience, too. You see a different side of a child when you get to spend one-on-one time with them each week. For me, I enjoy the gift of laughter each time I am with my lunch buddy."

I was sort of nervous about our first meeting. There was no need to be nervous! Our first meeting went great! We found out we had things in common. One was that we both enjoy golf! Finding common ground was wonderful. In spite of all the years between us, there was something we could share together! Every time we meet I learn a bit more about my buddy. As a mom, the one thing that has really stood out about my buddy is his sensitive side. He is very careful not to say or do anything that might hurt my feelings.

I enjoy being a buddy because

  • Just showing up means so much.
  • It's fun to see your buddy gain confidence through one more adult friendship.
  • It's like having your own fan club! Where else does your time become the envy of so many others?
  • It builds great community and interaction between the pairs of buddies in sharing resources and activities.
  • Praising your buddy's strengths (while gently shoring up weaknesses) produces great smiles and stronger hearts.
  • You learn great things about unique people. For example my buddy is creative, a peace builder, and enjoys electronic and community gaming. As a result she understands the necessity of hierarchy in society and can reason through seeming inequities -- like the importance of her carrying out a command from her parents (or teachers) -- but them not always doing the same :-).
  • You always leave feeling better than when you arrived.
  • Lunch buddies are cool! Be one and see what I mean!