The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 14, 2006


Teen Buddy program pilots at CCHS

The Teen Buddy Program piloted this year with 30 Concord-Carlisle High School students and ten students from each of the three Concord elementary schools. Each elementary student is paired up with a high school student. The program promotes self esteem, a sense of belonging, leadership and guidance and fosters creativity through a variety of fun activities including: Japanese painting, hip hop lessons, a New England Aquarium program, the "Traveling Tidal Pool," and a presentation on owls and snakes.

The students meet twice a month at the Alcott School from October to May. Matthew Smith, a senior from Carlisle, is one of the teen buddies. "I think it's a great program. The activities are well-planned out." He likes the relationship with his buddy. Concord junior Elyse Terry said, "My buddy is more confident. It's so rewarding." The high school students received a three-hour training program from Outward Bound, which helped to teach them how to be good leaders and how to guide.

"The older students can see the impact on the younger ones and it's very positive," said Sherrie Lenkarski, a school behavioral specialist involved with the program. She said the younger students are using these experiences to write essays or write in their journals for class. "They really look forward to coming on Wednesdays."

Julie Vitello, another school behavioral specialist and director of the program said Concord-Carlisle Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby was instrumental in making the program happen when she applied for and received an elementary and secondary counseling grant from the Concord Education Fund. The $20,000 grant paid for the staff, activities and supplies needed. Program facilitator Bob Raskind said, "It's been a real positive, productive experience." Regional School Committee member Becky Shannon said, "The problem with our system is that is it so age-isolated. It's great to mix it up. Kids learn from one another. I would like an expanded program."

Grant funding is being sought for next year. Raskind said, "I hope it can continue." Terry agreed.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito