Learning Buddies Program


The Learning Buddies Program connects older adults with students in grades K-5 to work together on class work, share experiences and learn from one another. This program matches adult volunteers' skills and interests with the needs of classrooms to help enhance students’ reading, math and science skills. Studies have shown that intergenerational programs such as Learning Buddies benefit children’s social development too.

Key Duties:

  • Work with students once a week throughout the school year
  • Attend an orientation and training sessions conducted by DARTS and school staff
  • Take direction from the teacher to provide reading, math or science help
  • Agree to treat all children equally and with respect
  • Keep information learned while volunteering confidential

Time Commitment:                                                                           

  • 1-2 hours a week from October - May

         You may volunteer more than this if you prefer


  • Ability to relate well and communicate with children
  • Willingness to follow guidelines as determined by DARTS and the participating schools
  • Able to follow teacher's directions
  • Availability during school hours throughout the school year
  • Ability to maintain confidential information


Supported By:

  • Erin Walloch, Program Manager - Learning Buddies & Pen Pals

         Connect with Erin at 651-234-2227 or erin.walloch@darts1.org

Impact Since 1997:

  • Learning Buddies volunteers have served more than 38,000 students
  • Volunteers have logged more than 70,000 hours in classrooms
  • Volunteers have made a difference in communities throughout Dakota County

You can impact the life of a child while enriching your own life with

                 this positive and rewarding volunteer experience!



Click here to view a video of Senator Al Franken thanking Learning Buddies volunteers. Click here to view a video of Senator Amy Klobuchar honoring the 16th Anniversary of the Learning Buddies Program.

See video

Learning Buddies Volunteer Portraits

Three amazing Learning Buddies named Bob, Kaye and Peg volunteer in a 2nd grade classroom each week to help students with math. The class splits into groups of 4-5 students and each volunteer takes a group. One morning, the groups read a book incorporating a hands-on math activity for the students to complete while the book was read to them. One book was about baking cookies, lemon pie and muffins and highlighted the concept of fractions. The second book was about sea life and incorporated multiplication facts throughout the story.