Being a role model is exactly what Andrew Young is teaching.
His one-credit course at Moffat County High School (MCHS), Buddies Mentoring, teaches skills like peer counseling, human development, psychology, communication skills, motivation and relationship skills. Along with acquiring these abilities, these "Big Buddies" are teamed up with two "Little Buddies" from Craig Intermediate School, one fifth- and one-sixth grader.
Young said he teaches "people how to help people."
The nine class members have one hour a day of in-class study but also spend a lot of time outside of class developing life-long skills.
The Big and Little Buddies meet one weekend a month, for lunch once a week and on Tuesday of every week. Past weekend events have included a recreation day in the MCHS gym, a trip to McDonald's, bowling, sledding and the painting of a canopy over the entrance at Valley View Manor in Craig.
According to CIS Counselor Tom Nagoda, buddies are chosen on the basis of who would be helped most by the program.
"Kids get to see and experience things they may not have been able to do," Nagoda said.
According to Young, much class time is spent preparing a list of activities for the trio.
"A big draw for the kids is the activities," Young said. "We hope the relationship develops into friendships they want to continue."
The Buddies program benefits everyone it reaches.
"They are making a difference in another person's life," Young said.
MCHS junior Amanda Bennett participates in the program and has found the incentives to outweigh any constraints.
"It is good that the kids have someone to look up to," Bennett said. "It really is fun. At first, they really didn't talk to us, but now they want to tell us everything."
The Little Buddies are very enthusiastic with being able to meet with their "personal" older buddy. Brittany Herrera, a fifth-grader at CIS, enjoys all aspects of the program.
"It is cool because we come here every Tuesday and we do lots of fun stuff," Herrera said. "If we need help with anything they help us."