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Forming bonds: One to One and Best Buddies

Posted By Denebola On October 29, 2008 @ 6:26 pm In Features | Comments Disabled

By Sammie Levin

With the start of the new school year, South’s clubs and programs have resumed their busy schedules, and many students are getting involved. Two programs offered at South, One to One and Best Buddies, were effective and productive last year and will continue their efforts throughout this school year. Both programs establish special relationships that help participants grow and create a lasting impact for those involved.

Newton’s One to One Program, created in 1972, is a big brother/big sister program and it is a course offered at both Newton North and Newton South for juniors and seniors.

Each student is paired up with a child between grades one and six at a Newton Public School. Often, the child is facing some sort of challenge in their life, and the mentoring nature of the relationship is meant to provide support and comfort.

Nancy Holczer, director of the program, explains that the mentoring “really does make a difference, and it allows students to give back and learn a lot about themselves.

She has been running the program for many years, and says that it is the “ideal job because she gets to work with dedicated students that put in great time and effort while involved in the program.

One to One is a full year program, and after completing their training, students are required to meet with their younger brother or sister once a week for two to three hours, November through May.

Students plan fun activities to do during the sessions like baking, bowling, and helping with homework.

New participants in the program this year are looking forward to forming close bonds with their “siblings.

Senior Jillian Schwartz is taking part in the program for the first time and says that she decided to join because she “loves being a mentor and a role model to children.

“This program is an opportunity to do so, while it is also a chance to give back to the community, she said. “It is really a special program and I really am looking forward to making a difference in a child’s life. I hope to maintain a great friendship with him or her as time goes on.

Best Buddies is a club at South geared towards forming connections between students in regular education and students in the special education program.

The creator of the club, Mr. Lenane, started it in 2005. Since then, the program has grown from 3-4 students to about 20-25 students. The club is now entirely student run, and meets Monday J Blocks.

“Students (both disabled and non disabled) seem more comfortable with each other. It is a very relaxed and fun environment, Lenane said.

There are hopes to expand the program and expand the activities and relationships to outside of school.

The relationships that are formed really do make an impact on every person involved. “A lot of students join so that they can ‘Ëœhelp’ people with disabilities, Lenane said. “At first they do it to be nice, but once they join, they find that our students with disabilities don’t need ‘Ëœhelpers,’ they just need friends to hang out with, talk to, and form friendships with. That is what Best Buddies is really about.

Both One to One and Best Buddies offer unique opportunities for South students to make a lasting difference in somebody else’s life and to discover more about themselves in the process.

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