Wando Buddy Program delivers more than books and smiles

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - More than 6,000 books showed up along with more than one hundred Wando High School Students at the front door of St. James Santee Elementary School Tuesday. The goal for the high schoolers was to give back to the younger community, but they quickly realized the Wando Buddy Program is making a difference for all those involved.

"I love to see my buddy because she means the world to me," says 4th grader Brianna Green.
Green is one of 250 students at the elementary school who will be bringing home 25 books tonight as apart of the program.
"We're trying to promote literacy here," says student leader Alex Hairfield. "For the longest time I felt like I wasn't reaching out to the community and I really wanted to help. When I heard about this project I really wanted to jump in and lead."
And lead Hairfield did. The senior organized the collection of 6,000 books.
"It's a great experience for both the St. James students and the Wando students," says student leader Jenny Bailey. "To learn about friendship, being a great role model and influencing someone else's life in a positive way is an amazing thing."
There are almost as many high school students involved in the program as their are students at the elementary school. That allows them to have one-on-one time with each other. 
Working on homework problems, reading and having fun on the playground just scratches the surface of what the program is really teaching those involved. 
"They have a writing relationship, a reading relationship and a partnership that's a growing friendship with the students at Wando and it's a great experience for them," says St. James Santee principal Joe Sampson.
Sampson says he couldn't be happier with the success of the program and watching his kids grow with the help of high schoolers.
The two schools plan to get together again in December but this time at Wando High where the elementary students will experience a day in the life of a high schooler.
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