Program Benefits Local Youth

Posted on November 11th, 2010 by

by Kyia Knutson ’12

Gusties have busy schedules, yet each Tuesday several students take a break to just hang out.

Not with their peers, but with children in the St. Peter area.

Specifically, developmentally delayed youth through the Gustavus Gustie Buddies program.

A Gustie Buddies pair at the apple orchard. (Photo submitted)

Five years ago, two Gustavus students working with the college’s Community Service Center developed this program. It began with just a few “buddies,” but it has grown in numbers each year. Today there are 32 highly motivated Gustie student volunteers and coordinators and, thus, 13 youth participants.

The mission of Gustie Buddies is to provide developmentally delayed youth from the St. Peter community and surrounding area with mentoring, affirming, and compassionate relationships with committed Gustavus students. It also promotes growth in understanding self and others through dynamic and intentional programming.

Buddies meet individually twice a month and as a group twice a month.

Individual activities include playing board games, watching movies, or going to Lund Center to play basketball.

“I really like the individual weeks when I have a buddy because there is more interaction and just more of a focus on you and your buddy,” says Meghan Faricy, a senior and a Gustie Buddy coordinator.

Group activities include going to an apple orchard, snow tubing, attending Twins games, and more.

Gustie Buddies group event at the apple orchard. (Photo submitted)

“We will do any events that are fun and develop personal skills within the buddy,” says Christopher Whitney, a senior and a Gustie Buddy coordinator.

“We learn so much from the buddies. We learn patience and we learn compassion and we learn to love someone else who might be a little bit different. It really brings a whole new dynamic to our life,” says Whitney.


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