(WTOL) - One local school is working to build meaningful and unique friendships outside of the classroom.
It’s a new program, making valuable partnerships, to help Lake Elementary students in all walks of life.
“She’s the best mentor," said Emma Pedelose, a first grader at Lake Local Schools.
Jenny Lowe and Emma Pedelose used to see each other at school, but now they hang out at least once a week.
“We read books,” said Emma Pedelose. “I had a donut with her, remember that?”
It’s a part of a Lake Elementary’s new program “Making Valuable Partnerships” or MVP that places students in need of mentoring with a staff member. Teachers nominate students for the program and staff volunteer their time to build trustworthy relationships that matter.
“They depend on seeing their mentors now that we’ve had it going for a couple of months,” said Jenny Lowe, ESL teacher and mentor. “And they cannot wait to see us, we can’t wait to see them and it’s just, it’s a lot of fun."
”She’s like pretty nice," said Joseph Pedelose, a second grader, of his mentor.
These relationships have changed students, whether socially, academically, or behaviorally. These partnerships are making a difference.
Since the program started at the beginning of the year, the principal’s office has had less visits and classrooms have had fewer behavior issues.
“I think a lot of the mentors do that when they notice their kiddos having a rough day,” said Katie Downie, Lake Elementary School Counselor. “They can come in just for a couple of extra minutes and figure out what’s going on and help them through the day.”
Most of the time mentors and their students hang out, they are out of school or class time.
Thursday they had a fun night complete with pizza, games and then watched their Lake boy’s basketball game. Their favorite part of the night?
“Being with my mentor and being on tv,” said Joseph Pedelose.
School administrators say this is just the beginning. Staff will stay with the same student until they graduate Lake High School proving they will always be there.
“Knowing that you’re supported no matter what and that you have the unconditional love of someone no matter what happens in life can help any child or any human being,” explained Mandy Wilburn, Principal at Lake Elementary.
Teachers, students and administrators are grateful for the program and excited to see it grow. They know together they will fly towards a brighter future.