The Jemicy Lower and Middle School Buddy Program began almost a decade ago at the suggestion of a Middle School teacher who predicted that the pairing of younger and older students would be mutually beneficial. Every student, 1st through 8th grade, has a buddy, sometimes two. Some have been matched because of common interests or personality, others, just randomly. The younger students love the attention, and their older mentors learn about responsibility and caring. Special time is set aside at least once a week for the buddies to spend time together.

The students work together on joint projects, play games, read to one another, watch a movie, or just hang out – building the bond of friendship. On school-wide trips, like skiing and bowling, they travel together, giving the older partners responsibility and the younger ones the secure feeling of being watched over and cared for. On campus, in addition to the regularly scheduled weekly Buddy Time, they team up for special events, assemblies, or activities like Festival Day or the annual Egg Hunt. The program has created a strong sense of community among the Jemicy students, and all would agree with the comment of one student who simply said, “It’s just nice to be somebody’s buddy.”

Jemicy School, founded in 1973, educates students with dyslexia and other related language-based learning differences, grades 1 – 12.

Does your school do something similar?

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