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Friday, February 23, 2024

‘Lunch Buddies’

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eddy County volunteer Johnny Payne, left, listens as his “Little,” James Krewson, reads a book. The organization gives volunteers an opportunity to act as role models to children between the ages of six and 17. (Submitted photo)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eddy County pairing  children with mentors

Daily Press Staff Writer

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eddy County will launch its “Lunch Buddies” program at Zia Intermediate School on Tuesday after finding success at two other elementary schools in Artesia in the past few years.

The program, which is already in practice at Central and Roselawn Elementary schools, pairs a “Little,” a child between the ages of six and 17, with a “Big,” an adult volunteer.

The adult acts as a role model to the student, and the two spend the child’s lunch break and recess together for one hour per week.

“Grades have gone up (because of the program),” Michelle Madrid, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eddy Country, said. “Some volunteers go into school and spend some of their hour helping with reading or homework. Even reading levels have gone up.”

Children in the program also have had better attendance records in school and improved relationships in their lives. According to Madrid, one child in the Lunch Buddies program had perfect attendance last year.

“The volunteers have helped in so many ways,” Madrid said. “(The kids) learn to make connections with people; they have better relationships with their peers, teachers and parents. They are learning how to have a positive relationship with an adult.” … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.

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