Making Smiles: The Buddy & Me Partnership
The Buddy & Me Partnership is a service-learning model that supports teacher candidates in the freshmen year to serve as mentors with elementary students. The partnership began in 2017 with Amerigo A. Anastasia Elementary and now includes the George L. Catrambone Elementary Schools in Long Branch.
It is a reciprocal mentoring opportunity between the local elementary campuses and the Monmouth University campus. Mr. Marcus W. Rodriguez, student advisor and Monmouth Instructors and students in ED 250, learn from and serve one another. The partnership began providing literacy and math support and has grown to focus on social-emotional learning. Since the partnership began, the average reading scores for the children have increased 97%.
At the closing partnership celebration of Fall 2020, the newly installed Monmouth President, Patrick Leahy attended the event and read a book to the students entitled, What Do You Do With a Chance? By Kobi Yamada. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school day to remote learning, Ruth K. Morris, Ed.D., partnership director and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, collaborated with Mr. Rodriguez to transfer the daily mentor visits to online also. The Buddy & Me Pen Pal partnership became another way to continue communication through Google Docs.
Mr. Rodriguez and Dr. Morris refer to the Buddy & Me Partnership as an acorn seed with potential and power inside. The acorn has grown from a seed to a sapling and continues to grow tall. The attached video is a glimpse into the growth our students experienced this semester.