Bona Leaders gains popularity in the community
By Shannon Holfoth
From "Good Works," the newsletter for the Center for Community Engagement
When senior Rianna Carlisle began tutoring local students with Bona Leaders two years ago, the program operated with only five St. Bonaventure student tutors.
Now, with more than 30 tutors, the Bona Leaders program continues to grow.
Bona Leaders is an off-shoot of the Bona Buddies program, which pairs St. Bonaventure students with local children for companionship and mentoring and to provide positive role models in the child’s life. Bona Leaders facilitates tutoring sessions between St. Bonaventure students and local elementary, middle and high school students.
After taking over as a co-student coordinator of Bona Leaders in her sophomore year, Carlisle helped to popularize the program and successfully garnered more participation from local schools and St. Bonaventure students.
“I had counselors asking for the program, asking for tutors and they continue to ask for tutors. I get e-mails from (schools) I never even considered,” Carlisle said. “They heard about the program and want us. It's great that St. Bonaventure is receiving more recognition.”
In past years, tutors would only conduct group sessions with students at the Olean YMCA’s after-school program. In her tenure as coordinator, Carlisle created an additional component where local students come to Bona’s for one-on-one tutoring.
Carlisle now oversees the entire Bona Buddies operation, which helps more than 100 children and includes five separate programs, catering to different age groups (Bona Big Sisters, Bona Rites of Passage, Bona Leaders, Bona Buddies and Bona Seniors).
Carlisle, a senior English major, emphasized the importance of the Bona Buddies programs to the university and the local community and marveled at the dedication of volunteer and non-volunteer student workers who make of the programming possible.
“All of the student coordinators (one for every Bona Buddies program) are taking on a big task … it’s a huge part of what they do,” she said. “On a mentorship level, a lot of these kids just need someone that will listen to them, someone who will guide them. They need good and positive mentors, moral instructors, and these programs give them all of these resources and plenty of friends.”
More Bona Buddies in the News:
"Bona Buddies to the Rescue"
"Bona Buddies Make the Holiday Season Special for Local Children"