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1/21/24: NTPS Celebrates National Mentoring Month

January 12, 2024 (Lacey) – North Thurston Public Schools is celebrating January as National Mentoring Month by working to add more male mentors to our Lunch Buddy Program, which connects students with caring adults for weekly one-on-one mentorship.

“Mentoring helps students to feel connected, valued, and engaged in their school community,” NTPS Superintendent Debra Clemens said. In addition to the Lunch Buddy program, NTPS mentoring opportunities include peer mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington, and the Lunch Brigade with Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Lunch Buddy program screens, trains, and matches adults with elementary and middle school students. The pairs meet each week at the school over lunch and/or recess. Matches play games, do crafts, talk, and build friendships. Students are generally referred by a teacher or counselor with parent approval.

Since the Lunch Buddy program started last fall, there has been a growing demand for more male role models and mentors.

“We have a lot of boys who need a positive male role model in their life; someone who can help them develop stronger values and self-confidence. They also work on building leadership skills, problem solving, and goal setting,,” said Courtney Schrieve, NTPS Mentor Program liaison.

Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make positive choices, attend and engage in school, and reduce or avoid negative behaviors. In turn, these young people are:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college.
  • 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
  • More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team.

The same research shows that one in three young people in our country will grow up without a mentor.

To apply to become an NTPS Lunch Buddy, visit our website or call 360-412-4487. Those outside of the area can visit and take the first step via the Mentoring Connector.

National Mentoring Month is led by MENTOR, the national unifying champion of the mentoring movement. 


About North Thurston Public Schools

NTPS is a vibrant and diverse school district serving more than 14,800 students in the south Puget Sound. We serve the community with 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three comprehensive high schools, and four choice schools. Our mission is: Committed to Excellence: Preparing all students for rewarding careers, fulfilling lives, and compassionate global citizenship. For more information:

Media Contact
Amy Blondin, Executive Director of Communications
Phone: (360) 412-4417