WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Every month WLFI and Frontier Communications team up to honor Hoosiers in our area working to make our community a better place. This month, it's all about mentoring.
We headed to Purdue's campus to meet the students behind College Mentors for Kids, a program aimed at inspiring elementary students to become the best they can be.
On the day we visited, students from four area elementary schools were learning how to use medical equipment from their mentors.
College Mentors for Kids program promotes culture, diversity, and community service.
"There are 180,200 college students at Purdue that really care about the 190 children that we serve," Organizer Maria Ibarra said. "It's pretty rewarding."
Ibarra and Lindsay Markle oversee each session.
"This program's great," Markle said. "Every week our mentors and Little Buddies look forward to coming. We do different activities all around campus and really get the kids exposed to what it's really like to be a college student and have higher education."
Although these Boilermakers dedicate their time to change these little lives, they too are changed in the process.
"One of my little buddies – that's what they're called – said, ‘Even though you're sick you can be my Valentine,' and another one said, ‘You're such a good person you don't deserve to be sick,'" Ibarra said. "They're second graders and they didn't even know I had strep throat and I was really touched that it mattered that I was there."
"It's really rewarding to see the change over time and especially regarding when buddy pairs can be together for a long time," Markle said. "So if a kid starts out in first grade we try to pair them with younger college students so they can stay together for a long time. But it's really cool to see the kids really invest in school and get excited about college. Not only Purdue but other colleges as well.
"College students aren't here just to have fun the nine months they're here at Purdue, and they just leave the town and it's complete empty for the summer," Ibarra said. "I think there are some of us that are here to making a difference in the short time we're here."
We salute Purdue's College Mentors for Kids: our Making A Difference winners for the month of March.
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