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Harbison West Elementary School partners with Palmetto Health to create Lunch Buddies


IRMO, SC - A select group of fifth graders at Harbison West Elementary School became “Lunch Buddies” Wednesday as the school kicked off its partnership with Palmetto Health. Eight employees from the health care company began establishing one-on-one relationships with students to help students reinforce their self-worth and hone their strengths. The goal is to help students succeed in school now while having a positive vision for their future.

“We are so excited that Lunch Buddies has finally made its way to Harbison West Elementary,” said Regina Brown, Community and Governmental Relations manager at Palmetto Health. “All of our volunteers here today are from our Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge location and it is really neat to see how equally anxious both the adults and students were to meet each other and grow together.”

From nurses to executives, the Lunch Buddy volunteers strive to be good listeners to the students and share a meal, fun and friendship. Lunch Buddies will meet twice a week throughout the school year. “The benefit for the adults is that at Palmetto Health we have a policy for our employees to give back,” Brown said. “This is an incredible way for them to contribute to the community outside our hospital walls by positively impacting a child’s life.”

Harbison West Elementary School guidance counselor Abby Dreher has been the driving force behind landing this partnership with Palmetto Health and believes it is a great experience for her students. “Lunch Buddies is such a unique partnership because not only do our students come from different backgrounds, but they get a chance to meet professionals who also come from different backgrounds,” Dreher said. “It takes a village to raise a child. We cannot do it alone, and it is really special to me that the students have this opportunity of developing relationships with such caring adults.”

Principal Ed Davis echoed those comments, “We are truly fortunate to have such a giving business partner. Thanks to Palmetto Health and all the volunteers. I know together we will help our students succeed in school and in life.”

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