For websiteMadison and I have been together as Study Buddies for four years. We were matched at the beginning of her third grade year at Webb Elementary, which was my third year as a volunteer.

An obviously bright kid, she had trouble focusing on the assignments in her Study Connections folder. She preferred to interact with Anna, her best friend and another Study Connection student, or find other excuses to avoid studying. She constantly cajoled me to play Candy Land or other games before doing the assignments. “Work before pleasure” was not a concept she believed in! I grew frustrated because I saw the other Study Buddies diligently working through their assignments each week; I thought we were disappointing the program ideals and wondered if I should ask to be reassigned to another student.

But I learned that Madison lived one week with her father and the next week with her mother, even switching siblings when she changed houses. I decided that my role in Madison’s life was to provide constancy, to make her feel extra special for one hour a week. I redefined myself as a mentor instead of a tutor and stopped worrying.

After two years at Webb Elementary, I followed her to Custer Baker Intermediate School. I’m so glad I stayed with her! She’s matured remarkably since she’s been in intermediate school, and I marvel at how she’s changed. While she still doesn’t want to do homework, I trust that she gets her work done at home. She’s such an active kid who loves to do cartwheels and cheerleading routines while I watch in appreciation. We play games every week now in our little corner of the CBIS Media Center, away from the others where we don’t have to be so quiet.

With Madison completing her sixth grade year, we will no longer be official Study Buddies, but we’d like to stay connected to each other. Knowing that she wants to continue our relationship makes me feel special too!

Study Connection Makes Madison Feel Special