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Georgia's Special Study Buddy Program Helps Struggling Students

Budget cuts have have made finding extra help for students difficult. One local Georgia school is turning to the community and senior citizens in particular, MyFoxAtlanta reports.

They call it the Study Buddy Program and just about everyone involved considers it a great success.

This isn't your typical classroom. First, the students are all getting one on one attention. Second, most of the people working with them are senior citizens.

Every week, volunteers head to on Lilburn's Mountain Park Elementary School as part of the school's study buddy program.

Study Buddy Fran Dubner said, "The place I'm happiest is in a school classroom, with kids." 

Dubner, who is a retired teacher, and her husband Ray have been study buddies since the program began four years ago.

Just like many of the volunteers in the Program, they live at a nearby senior citizen housing complex.

"We decided in our retirement that we'd like to give something back to the community, this seemed to be the thing to do," said Ray Dubner.

The teachers pick students that could use a little extra help and then come up with a lesson plan for them to work on.

Millie Morrie, a first grade teacher said, "It's amazing when a volunteer is willing to spend 30 to 45 minutes a week with a child how much growth they can 

The program has caught on so much that parents have joined the seniors in volunteering.

One student named Tay Pattillo is in his second year with his study buddy.

"We just read these books, sometimes the teacher gives us questions to fill out," said fourth grader Tay Pattillo.

The fourth grader says he missed his special friend all summer.

He said, "It's been a long time since I've seen him, and I'm really happy." 

Study Buddy coordinators say about a 10 percent of the Mountain Park students got extra help last year. This year's program kicked off just this week and they are hoping to get enough volunteers to expand.

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