Tusculum football team attends “Lunch Buddies” orientation

Tusculum College Football Team attends orientation to become “Lunch Buddies”

Members of the Tusculum College Pioneer Football Team are becoming Lunch Buddies to students at nearby Doak Elementary School.

Approximately 150 team members attended an orientation session at the college on Tuesday night (Jan. 18, 2005), which included role playing and skits with members of Boy Scout Pack 94 Den 3.

Coordinated by the Volunteer Center of Greeneville-Greene County in cooperation with Tusculum College, the mentoring program links football players with students in grades 2 through 5 at Doak.

Mary Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Volunteer Center, said Lunch Buddies pairs elementary students with carefully screened, caring adults. She said the program would expand to other adult groups and schools in Greene County.

Under the pilot program, Doak students will spend a lunch period. They will eat together, talk and participate in activities at the elementary school.

Student selected for the program are identified by their teachers or counselors as being able to benefit from extra positive recognition from adults. Parental permission is required for a child to participate.

Fitzpatrick said that mentoring programs, such as Lunch Buddies, have improved school attendance and the quality and timeliness of schoolwork.

“The students get along with others better,” Fitzpatrick said, “and they show greater pride in their work, their school and, most importantly, themselves.”

Fitzpatrick praised several individuals who have been instrumental in developing and coordinating the project. They include Vanessa Boyd, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow at the Center for Civic Advancement at Tusculum College; Pioneers Coach Frankie DeBusk and his team.

Founded in 1998, the Volunteer Center links approximately 3,000 volunteers per year with non-profit projects and organizations in the Greeneville-Greene County area.