WHITMIRE, S.C. - This season, the Newberry College men's basketball players are volunteering their time to mentor elementary school students through the Whitmire Elementary School's “Lunch Buddies” program. Despite their demanding practice and class schedule, the players are still proud to take time out of their day to speak to young students in the area.
The program serves to get members of the community into the schools and inspire the young students. Many influential community members have enjoyed speaking to the kids at lunch, including city officials, fire fighters and police officers.
“We have been granted an incredible opportunity to get these community members in and speak to our students,” said Matthew Tepper, a guidance counselor at the school and coordinator of the program. “It can be even more powerful with collegiate athletes who really provide someone for the kids to look up to.”
The players visit the school and spend a lunch period with a particular classroom. Each player has the opportunity to speak to the children about the value of hard work and education and assist in instilling these qualities in the students' minds at a young age.
“As coaches and athletes, we have the ability to touch numerous lives with the message of academics and education,” said head coach Steve DeMeo. “We want these young kids to understand that education is the vehicle for fulfilling their dreams.”