The OLW Buddy Program is a favorite of students and teachers alike. It pairs a younger student in preschool to third grade with an older ‘buddy’ in grades four through eight. Being a buddy helps to build community, teaches responsibility, models good behavior and gives the younger student a role model. Monthly buddy activities offer a chance for students to become friends with someone outside their grade; the activities are usually focused on faith and service. Most of the activities are related to the Virtue of the month.

In September, to learn about Unity, the Buddy pairs worked on a puzzle together in a way that they learned about each other. The puzzle pieces were put together on the wall to show that we are all a part of God’s plan.

In October, the Buddy pairs from kindergarten to eighth grade walked as a large group into downtown Arlington Heights to see the movie, SMALL FOOT. The idea for this came from OLW teacher, Mrs. Carrie Ryan, “I saw a review of the movie and I knew that the message of courage and staying true to yourself matched up with what we are studying this month in Virtues, the virtue of Courage.” As the Virtues team planned the monthly Buddy activity, they decided that a movie outing would help the students get to know each other and give them easy conversation points to talk with their buddy about Courage. The General Manager at CMX Cinemas, Mr. Vinnie Scardima, grew up as an OLW parishioner and was very happy to open the theater just for OLW students. Arlington Heights Mayor, Mr. Tom Hayes, was able to speak to the students before the movie started. “It is important to always stand up for what it is right,” the Mayor reminded the students.

OLW students definitely thought a movie outing was a great buddy activity. The buddy pairs sat next to each other in the movie theatre and as they walked back, they could all be heard talking about the movie on the walk back to school. “The movie showed our buddy how you don’t have to be afraid to be yourself,” said one seventh grader. “It was really cool to hang out with my buddy,” remarked a second grader.

In November, the Buddy pairs worked together and discussed Gratitude, the November virtue.

In December, the buddy pairs worked on a prayer chain. Each student wrote a prayer that reflected how they felt God is calling them. The long prayer chain was used during one of the advent services.

Fourth graders celebrated Dr Seuss’ birthday in February with their preschool buddies.

We are very proud of the OLW Buddy Program which started in 2010.