Tallahassee Fire teams with Leon County Schools for “Lunch Buddies” program

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -Special guests are now joining students for lunch at Leon County Schools. The Tallahassee Fire Department has teamed up with the district for a new program called “Lunch Buddies.”

It allows firefighters to act as mentors to middle school students.

Students are taking advantage of their time with the firefighters whether that’s chatting about the school year, sports, or for some, their goal of becoming a firefighter one day.

“A chance for us to get to know them on a one-to-one basis and answer questions and mentor them and to show them we’re firefighters and we’re real people and we’re here for them,” said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Jones.

Fire personnel now get the opportunity to interact with kids in non-emergency situations.

“They really enjoy getting the opportunity to ask kids questions or talk to them about things ya know, because kids see firefighters on tv and sometimes that’s Hollywood and may not be the truth so by us being able to tell them what we do and how we do and how they can achieve is great for us and our men and women embrace it,” Jones said.

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna said the past few years have been tough on students and that makes this partnership that much more effective.

“With COVID, our kids were isolated a lot and didn’t have a lot of interaction with their peers much less with mentors so we’re so thankful that the firefighters have stepped up,” said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna.

“It gives our students adult role models that they can have conversations with and not only that but those who are interested in pursuing a career as an emergency service personal with EMS or firefighters that can talk with them about the career opportunities that may be presented to them in the future,” Hanna said.

The firefighters will be in Leon County Middle Schools bi-weekly for the remainder of the school year.