Florida A&M athletes are giving back to the community.
The students of Hartsfield Elementary School anticipate the weekly arrival of Thursday to have a chance to meet and eat with student athletes from FAMU.
FAMU Athletics Lunch Buddies program was designed to give student athletes an opportunity to give back by engaging with the community in an informal way.
Every Thursday for one hour, athletes from a variety of FAMU’s sports teams come together to have lunch with the students at the school. Many of FAMU athletes have created bonds with some of the students which in turn builds confidence for the students.
Football player and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee Sharard Saddlers says, “It’s my favorite day of the week. I think I am happier to see them than they are to see me.”
Senior public relations student and FAMU cheerleader Evelyn Ross, also had great things to say about the Lunch Buddies program.
“I truly enjoy coming to interact with the kids during their lunch time. It really makes them happy to see us and I enjoy being apart of this program,” she said.
During their lunch period, students are seated in their designated areas where the athletes come to join them with a variety of activities to participate in. Athletes assist with arts and crafts as well as a plethora of card and board games. The goal of lunch buddies is to give athletes the opportunity to build relationships with the students. Through creating personal bonds, FAMU athletics will receive the support desired from those within the community.
Xavier Mackey, co-advisor of Lunch Buddies, expressed his gratitude towards the program.
“This program started roughly three years ago. The purpose is to give our time in a different manner so instead of giving back in a formal setting where we mentor the kids and try to push them to strive for success, we try to do it in an informal way so they can gain that trust and listen to us and I think the programs has been really successful,”
The overall goal of the lunch buddies program has been a success thus far. Looking forward to the future, FAMU athletics has hopes to expand their program within the next year.