Lunch Buddy Program

The Lunch Buddy Program is a mentoring initiative implemented in middle schools in Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Newton-Conover City Schools since 2011. We are excited to share that as of the 2017-2018 school year, we have expanded our offerings to serve all eight traditional middle schools in Catawba County!

The Lunch Buddy Program is designed to help reach students who would benefit from having an additional positive role model in their life. It helps create healthy attitudes and behavior in youth, as well as provide skills, resources, and positive experiences that will help them become successful, productive citizens. Community volunteers are recruited to become mentors, trained, have background checks performed, and are matched with an appropriate child. Mentors spend 30 minutes each week of the school year going into the school and eating lunch with the student, while building a positive relationship with him/her.

What does it take to become a Lunch Buddy mentor?

  • You commit to spending 30 minutes once a week with a middle school student for the length of a school year
  • Lunch Buddy Program staff will train you to become a Lunch Buddy through an Information and Orientation session
  • You must have a background check performed
  • The Lunch Buddy Program Coordinator at the Council on Adolescents and school staff will identify and connect you with the best mentor/mentee match possible
  • You get to be a positive adult role model to an at-risk child in your community for an entire school year!


We are excited to announce that the Lunch Buddy Program will be expanding in the 2017-2018 school year! The Graduation Coach Program is a continuation of the Lunch Buddy Program at the high school level. This program functions in similar to the Lunch Buddy Program but allows mentors and mentees matched at the middle school level, to continue their relationship when the child enters high school. Like the Lunch Buddy Program, mentors and mentees will continute meetings once a week during lunch. The Council looks forward to seeing the positive relationships formed during middle school continue to develop and flourish once the child enters high school. If you are a Lunch Buddy and would like to continue meeting with your student when he/she goes to high school, please contact Rachel as soon as possible!


Currently serving the following schools:

  • Arndt Middle School
  • Grandview Middle School
  • Jacob's Fork Middle School
  • Maiden Middle School
  • Mill Creek Middle School
  • Newton-Conover Middle School
  • Northview Middle Schoo
  • Riverbend Middle School
  • Hickory High School (Graduation Coach)
  • Newton-Conover High School (Graduation Coach)
  • St. Stephens High School (Graduation Coach)


For more information about how YOU or your business can become a Lunch Buddy, please contact our office at 828.322.4591 or email Rachel Heck at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Would you like to be a Mentor?

Submit your application here:

The Lunch Buddy Program is in partnership with:

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Board of Directors

  • Chair - Randy Bergman
  • Vice Chair - Honey Estrada
  • Treasurer - Mary Morrison
  • Secretary - Jennifer Beane
  • Kevin von Allmen
  • Sandy Costner
  • Cindy Boger
  • Cat McCrary
  • Ron Carson
  • Dalan Garcia
  • Zack King
  • Korey Fisher-Wellman
  • Justin Levey

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Contact Us

1120 Fairgrove Church Rd SE Suite 22
Hickory, NC 28602

Phone- 828.322.4591
Fax- 828.322.2675