When asked if the Lunch Pals mentoring program is beneficial to elementary and middle school students, 100% of surveyed principals, teachers and liaisons said, "YES!" 100%!
Parents of Lunch Pals mentees are encouraged not only by the noticeable academic improvement and motivation but also by the increased communication and social skills:
"He feels like going to school more and looks forward to it. He is trying to socialize more."
"[My Lunch Pals students] are more adjusted and confident. They have a sense of belonging and feeling part of something bigger than themselves. They have bonded with their mentors and feel a sense of purpose."
Principals have taken notice,
"We have seen a significant change in attitude, behavior, and in some case grades. All because the students really value and appreciate someone giving them 30 minutes of their time a week, to support, encourage, and motivate them to do better. Great program!"
The feelings are mutual. When Lunch Pals mentors were asked what they enjoyed most about being a mentor, the bond and opportunity to give back were cited most often.
"[I have enjoyed] the opportunity to provide a positive impact on a student who may experience numerous life-altering challenges at such a young age."
Inviting mentors into the school community also presents many opportunities for involvement beyond these individual relationships, into the greater school community.
"Through the Lunch Pals initiative, our mentors noticed that our picnic tables in the courtyard were a bit 'weathered.' They took up a collection and purchased 5 beautiful picnic tables with benches for the school!"
But ultimately, it's all about the students, who happen to be the biggest fans of the Lunch Pals program. Lunch Pals mentees list many reasons why they like their Lunch Pals mentor including: feeling special, having fun, playing games, eatin
g lunch, talking and receiving help with challenges they face.
"I like when we play basketball and football and I like when we talk about school."
"She talks with me and she is my best friend."
Many bright spots in many people's lives as we all share, learn, and interact together - that's what a community is all about!