For Arbour Lake’s grade 9 students, it’s easy to walk around the school’s hallways. But they remember when it was a lot harder. Three years earlier, they found grade 9 students intimidating and hard to talk to. For their change initiative, they decided to debunk the myth that grade 9’s are scary while also building their school’s community. To have real conversations with their peers and become positive role models, eight student leaders created the Brunch Buddies program.
Brunch Buddies runs once a month for different students in grade 6. Each session, the 8 student leaders meet with 3 or 4 younger students to have rich conversations about issues the grade 6 students are facing. The students have shared concerns about crowded hallways, teasing, friendship, and provincial assessment tests. Having faced some of these problems themselves, the grade 9 students share their experiences and offer strategies that the grade 6’s can try as well. The students serve muffins and juice each month so that all of the students also have a chance to eat breakfast in a safe and welcoming setting.
Arbour Lake’s students are now planning how they’ll sustain Brunch Buddies into next year. With the grade 9 students all graduating this year, the students plan on reaching out to a group of grade 8 students to take on the mantle of mentoring next year’s new students. This year’s student leaders hope that Brunch Buddies will continue for future years, so that Arbour Lake’s community continues to focus on mental wellness and real conversations across each grade.