Club Mentors at Falling Branch
At the beginning of his tenure as Service Chairman in 2018, Zach Shannon saw an opportunity to engage fellow Club members to serve the community on a more consistent basis. With the Club actively involved in many large-scale service events including Relay for Life, the Big Event, Special Olympics basketball tournament, Renew the New, Muddy ACCE Race, and more, Zach sought to identify a different kind of opportunity for Club members to give back.
Through Zach’s vision, the Club partnered with Falling Branch Elementary School located in Christiansburg, VA to provide mentorship to elementary school students in need of consistent and supportive role models. Fellow Club member Grant Griffith’s mother, Mrs. Griffith, is a teacher at Falling Branch, and has welcomed the German Club’s involvement in students’ lives.
At the beginning of each semester, Mrs. Griffith assigns each Club mentor a “buddy” to befriend. Once per week, Club mentors visit Falling Branch Elementary School to spend quality time with their buddy. Activities range from playing games during recess to assisting with reading or writing activities. Throughout the semester, each mentor builds a relationship with their buddy with hopes of establishing a supportive role in the child’s life.
While the intent is for Club members to serve as positive influences on the children, members often find they enjoy the activities as much as the students do: “getting to know the kids over the course of a semester is great. At first you don’t know each other very well, but by the end of the semester you’re like best friends, and it’s very sad to say goodbye” notes Harrison Pope ‘20.
The Club hopes to continue its partnership with Falling Branch Elementary School for years to come, further building upon a long-standing tradition of Service to the community.