by Danielle Wagner
HAMPTON (KWWL) High school students and middle school students paired up as Big Buddies and Little Buddies.
It's a two-year-old program through the Hampton-Dumont School District.
"Mostly we practice spelling words, and if we're not practicing we're playing a game or working on homework," said fifth grader Ashlynn Srigley.
Each Thursday afternoon more than 40 high schoolers visit their Little Buddies at the Hampton Middle School.
"I thought it sounded like a lot of fun to be a part of a kids' life and help them. I was in middle school once and could help them with any of their homework, play games and just have an impact on someone," said 10th grader Taryn Barz.
The buddy program came about after middle school teachers thought the students needed more role models.
"When you're in middle school or elementary and look at those high school students and think they're heroes. So we thought they could relate better to them and have a stronger connection," said Lori Millard with the high school.
The Big Buddies meet academic and social standards to join the program. The Little Buddies are referred by teachers.
"I know if I was here I would want someone to come on Thursday and help. I think it would have been a good idea. I think it benefits and helps everyone. It helps me how I can be a role model for someone, and how I can help them," said Barz.
Help them to eventually be a good role model for someone else.
"She's taught me that to be a good role model is to be nice, and not to break the rules," said Srigley.
"I think she benefits from me, and I know when she gets older she can continue in this program because she had someone who came and helped her," said Barz.
The program coordinators notice positive changes in both buddies.
"I've heard them say I've set higher standards for myself, and I watch how I act in the community because my little buddy sees me all the time," said Millard.
"Some students are starting to ask me on Monday is my buddy coming this week," said Stephanie Bochmann.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner