FAQ – SCHOOL-BASED PROGRAM
I’ve heard about a program called Lunch Buddies. Is this the same thing? Yes. Volunteer mentors and kids in the school-based program have been called “Lunch Buddies” as well as Bigs and Littles so all terms are used interchangeably. The term helps younger children who may be familiar with a Big Brother or Big Sister through a sibling, relative or friend’s match, understand how their mentor is different and only sees them during lunch, at school.
What do I do if I can’t make it to see my Lunch Buddy on my regular day? Please call or email us to reschedule, 458-0111 or email your BBBS staff coordinator.
May I bring in lunch or a treat for us to school? You may bring in a treat (healthy snack, dessert, candy items) to share at any time. If you want to bring some other special lunch, please notify the teacher so a school hot lunch is not ordered for the child. Some of the volunteers do this around the holidays, for a birthday or for the end of the school year.
My Lunch Buddy wants to bring friends along, is this ok? Yes, but set the ground rules early. The goal of BBBS programs is to nurture a 1:1 relationship with your Little. You can let your Lunch Buddy bring friends periodically but we hope it isn’t the norm. Please get the teachers input on which other classmate(s) to invite. This is a great way for the kids to work on friend making and sharing, especially for those who are lacking socially. It is also OK to say no when your Lunch Buddy asks to bring friends! Sometimes bringing friends causes different dynamics and may cause problems.
May I bring in games or crafts from home to play and do? Definitely! Some of the matches make special crafts (scrap booking, beading, model building) or might bring in a game to play once in a while. Remember that we do have activity boxes for your use as well.
May I attend my Lunch Buddy’s school concert or play? Yes, since you will be on school grounds during school hours.
May I bring my family pet to school to show my Lunch Buddy? Sorry, no. The school districts are pretty strict about this and we have to abide by their rules.
What happens if my Lunch Buddy changes schools/moves? If you are able or willing to follow your child to that school, you may do so. If you can’t, we will gladly set you up with another student at your present school and put your former Lunch Buddy on the waiting list at his/her new school. Keep in mind that many of the kids talk about moving or changing schools. It doesn’t always happen!
Is it OK to give my Lunch Buddy a gift for his/her birthday? Yes, just make sure it fits in a brown grocery bag so she/he can take it home easily. Please avoid lavish gifts and fancy wrap, as this sometimes causes jealousy among the other children.
My daughter outgrew her bicycle, can I give it to my Lunch Buddy? Yes. Just let us know and we will call the parent(s) and set up how we want to get it there.
McDonald’s is just down the street, can we walk there for lunch? Sorry, no. The rules of the Lunch Buddy Program states that all visiting is done on school property.
I’m not really sure if I’m doing things “right”, can you give me some feedback? Of course, that’s why we’re here! The kids are really excited about getting a Lunch Buddy. No need to pull out the magic tricks, although they’d probably think that’s cool! Most of the children are happy that you are there to be their very own special friend. Play games, talk, listen, and keep a regular schedule. Your visits are often the highlight of their week!
My Lunch Buddy has confided in me about some serious issues at home, what do I do? Please contact us. If you feel comfortable, notify the teacher, counselor, secretary or principal at the school as well. We are committed to work together to ensure the safety of the children.
My Lunch Buddy has done something wrong and I’m not sure how to handle this, I don’t want to betray his/her trust, what do I do? Please contact us. If you feel that the immediate safety of your child or the children and staff at the school is in jeopardy, don’t hesitate to tell the teacher, counselor, secretary or principal. It is important for the child to know that she/he can’t break the rules and if is your responsibility as their friend and an adult to help make things right.
How can I help spread the word about the need for Lunch Buddies? Please contact the agency and one of our staff members would be happy to talk to your business or social group about volunteer opportunities at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sheboygan County.
It’s the end of the school year, what are my options for summer? You can still have contact with your Lunch Buddy over the summer via phone, email or letters.
If you are enjoying spending time with your Lunch Buddy and would like to see him/her outside of school, let us know and we can talk about transitioning you to the Community Based program.
- First we call the parent(s)/guardian to find out if they are interested in the opportunity. If so, we do a home visit with them to find out more about the child.
- We will schedule a home visit at your house. Don’t worry, we don’t check for dust! This is just a step in the process to get to know you better.
- Additional reference check and background checks are also done.
- We will coordinate a time to introduce you to the parent(s)/guardian at their home, ideally when the child is home from school. Once you are a Community Based match, it is up to you to work with parent/guardian to schedule your weekly time to get together.