By Stacey Phillips
Solana Santa Fe Elementary School recently completed its fall session of the Study Buddy program. Co-sponsored by the San Diego Alliance for Drug Free Youth, the mentoring program pairs elementary and high school students. They meet once a week for an hour after school. Part of this time they “study” and the rest of the time they “buddy,” which includes playing sports on the playground or board games.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity. It gives teens something meaningful to be a role model and the elementary students’ confidence is boosted because a slightly older peer truly cares about them,” said Terri Summerhays, who runs the Study Buddy program at SSF with the help of Lydia Noble, the guidance counselor at the school.
Summerhays has been involved with the Study Buddy program for more than 20 years. Her own son participated in Study Buddies at Solana Highlands while her husband was working out of town for an extended period of time.
“He needed a male role model and the program was so helpful to him then. I think the benefit of that is still there,” she said.
When her children started at Solana Santa Fe the first year the school opened in 1993, Summerhays helped Principal Julie Norby start the PTO program there and she has been instrumental in its success ever since. “I still see the magic that happens between the kids,” she said.
Other school districts that take part in this program include Cardiff, Del Mar, Encinitas, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe. Teachers at these schools refer students who they think will benefit from the mentoring program. High school students from La Costa Canyon, Torrey Pines and Cathedral Catholic must apply through the San Diego Alliance for Drug Free Youth. During each session, the high school students sign a pledge that they will be alcohol, tobacco and drug-free and be a good role model for their younger buddy.
The next Study Buddy session will be offered in the spring. More information is available on the San Diego Alliance web site: