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Let's do lunch
Each Wednesday, a couple dozen Naval Avenue Elementary students eat lunch with their buddies.
These buddies arent quite like their classmates, but community members who give the children the chance to bond with an adult who shares an interest in them, spending quality time some students arent always able to get at home.
Some students in the Lunch Buddies program do have difficulties outside of school, according to principal Gail Sackman, while others just really wanted to have a lunch buddy because theyre fun.
For Sue Shipley, retired principal of View Ridge Elementary School, the program is a chance to have some of that fun, without some of the less fun aspects that can come along with being an administrator.
I just love it. Its pure joy, Shipley said. No work to it. No discipline. Its just Abby and me every week. Its always the best hour of my week every week.
The idea came from interventionist Cheryl Gillespie. She got the program started several years and worked on it with Shipley while at View Ridge before bringing it to Naval Avenue two years ago.
Its always been a real winner with the kids and they love it, Shipley said. Its such an easy thing for (volunteers) to do, too.
Abby, 7, the lunch buddy for Shipley, has a particular thing about the program that she enjoys.
My favorite part is her (Shipley). We like to play games, Abby said.
Well, really, its just the one game.
Crocodile Dentist, she said. I love it. Its the only game I want to play. And I always win.
Laura, also 7, echoed the sentiment about her lunch buddy.
I really like my lunch buddy. Shes nice and shes kind, she said. We play games like Crocodile Dentist.
In the case of Laura and her buddy, Shirley Rogers, the game is a favorite but not an exclusive favorite.
We play dolls a lot and thats fun for me because I havent done it in years, Rogers said.
Rogers has been a lunch buddy since it first started.
I really enjoy it. Ive met some really great kids including Laura, she said. Cheryl does a really great job of matching up the kids with (buddies) and I think that really helps make it work.
Gillespie said after lunch, buddies do a variety of activities including board games, making art, playing house, and sometimes celebrating a birthday.
Were doing an un-birthday for everyone soon. It makes sure no one is left out, she said. Its really pretty magical for kids. Its also nice for the community to be able to come in and see the good things going on in schools.
Other games buddies found to play this week included pick-up sticks, puzzlemaking, bingo and chess.
Chess is great, said Doug, 10. I came in second place in the chess tournament for the whole school.
Buddies include many folks from around the district.
I love it because I have no grandkids, said superintendent Bette Hyde. (Board member) Vicki Collins has been doing this a long time. (Former assistant superintendent Roy) Okamoto did this and also, of course, (school resource officer John) Bogen.
The kids love seeing him with the uniform.