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PSE Undergrad Mentors Elementary Students

Freshman, Sara Gregory, leans into her mentoring roots and shares her experience.

Sara Gregory, Secretary for the Pulp and Paper Board Student Advisory Committee, keeps busy outside of her busy study schedule by participating in a local mentoring program. College Mentors for Kids is a national organization that takes place at colleges and universities all over the country. This organization pairs a college student (mentor) with an elementary school student between grades 1st and 5th (little buddy). NC State has two neighboring elementary schools, Hunter and Dillard Drive elementary schools, with which we partner. There are around 40 students from each elementary school that participate. The kids come to NC State every Tuesday and Wednesday. While the kids are here, they are split into “packs” based on their age; once everyone has dispersed into packs we head to our designated classrooms to begin our time together. Snacks are provided for the little buddies, and we begin by talking about our days. After they have finished their snacks, a guest speaker will talk about the learning topic of the day. We have had guest speakers who shared about careers after college, helping the environment, agriculture, STEM, etc. Once the speaker is finished, there is an activity related to what they just learned about. This past week the little buddies learned about STEM and what it is. We had a fun activity related to this where we were given bowls of starch and the little buddies added water to make a slime-textured material that they could play with. Through this activity, the little buddies were able to apply what they learned about science to this experiment. Once the activity is finished we wrap up for the day and send them back to their elementary schools. 

My first semester of college led me to find this unique opportunity to volunteer. I had a background in working with kids throughout high school and did not want that to end when I came to college. I am so glad that I did because it brings me such joy! Although I only get to see my little buddy once a week, it is so nice to take a break from the overwhelming life that comes with being a college student. I am able to forget about all my work and tests and just focus on teaching my little buddy more about the world surrounding them and what they can look forward to as they grow up. This is a great program and one worth getting involved with!