Lunch Buddies

In 2015, Lunch Buddies was instituted at Jane Addams Elementary School in Palatine to provide academic support to low-income students. Lunch Buddies has since expanded to serve Plainfield Elementary School in Des Plaines, Euclid Elementary School in Mount Prospect, and Rupley Elementary School in Elk Grove Village.

The responsive program cultivates favorable attitudes toward reading at Plainfield while Lunch Buddies at Euclid pairs students in need of positive adult influences with dedicated mentors. Lunch Buddies at Plainfield additionally provides career pathway experiences for underserved high school students who volunteer as tutors. Similar to the program at Plainfield, Lunch Buddies at Rupley recruits and train teen tutors to inspire positive attitudes toward reading among early readers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Lunch Buddies at Jane Addams Elementary School will help students leverage their internal strengths to cope with a new sense of normal by connecting them with mentors in a secure virtual learning environment. Through video conferencing, volunteer mentors will foster socialization among small groups of students and facilitate structured social and emotional learning activities. Virtual lunchtime mentors are currently needed to assist students in 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. 


Every dollar raised delivers measurable results that support our aims of strengthening foundational math and reading skills and cultivating positive attitudes toward learning.

  • 100% of the Lunch Buddies students in 6th grade achieved satisfactory grades and school attendance. (Spring 2019)
  • Every 4th and 5th grade teacher reported seeing improvements in student engagement and assignment completion rates among their Lunch Buddies students. (Spring 2019)
  • 94% of 1st and 2nd graders in the program indicated they enjoyed free reading time, a 25 percentage-point increase from the beginning of the term. (Spring 2019)

"Not only did you build up their reading skills, but you also helped them grow into such wonderful little people and they always talked about how much they loved eating and chatting with you guys!" - Plainfield Elementary School Teacher