The Saint Bernard School Student-To-Student Buddy Program matches middle school students with younger homeless children. The program's goal is to foster leadership and community skills in the Study Buddies, while providing a needed service to homeless children.
In 1996, St. Bernard donated more than 400 books to the Volunteers of America Family Emergency Shelter (FES). Then, students from Saint Bernard visited the shelter to read to other children living in the shelter. Within a short period, some parents in the shelter expressed that they desired to learn how to read.
Twice each month, students with chaperones visit the shelter on a rotating basis to read with the children and parents. Study Buddies has grown from 45 to 65 students. In addition, adults affiliated with the program discuss books or share literacy issues with adults at the shelter.
Before the formation of the program, homeless individuals were not allowed to check out library books since they could not provide a permanent address. St. Bernard worked with the Louisville Public Library to eliminate this provision.
During the summer, students take children from the shelter to baseball games and arrange car washes as fund-raisers. Furthermore, the eighth grade class at St. Bernard established a student council that visits other schools to recruit more volunteers for the program and to share their experiences from the shelter.