Newberry, SC (WLTX) - Lola Haselden's face lights up when she's with her big buddy Aubrie Suber.
"She's really fun and nice and I just love her," Haselden said.
Once a week the two give up their recess to spend time with one another.
"It makes me more of a responsible person to help out people younger than me," Suber said.
"She helps me focus and she helps me learn a lot," said Haselden.
They practice flash cards, read books and play games. Each year fifth graders at Little Mountain Elementary become "Big Buddy Leaders" to students in kindergarten, first and second grade.
School counselor Sherry Swindler said the program started after two students in different grades asked if they could play together.
"The fifth grader would say, "Um. When can I come back to your office to play another game or spend time with the kindergartner?' The kindergartner also asked, 'Can we invite the big kid to come back and play a game with us?' And I thought you know we've got a gold mine right here," she said.
The program has been going strong for the last 19 years focusing on kindness, trustworthiness and helping and accepting one another.
"There's just something special about having the "big kid" to come and pay attention to you, to come and play a game, help you with your math facts, help you with your vocabulary words. There's just something really special about that," Swindler said.
But the young students aren't the only ones benefiting.
"To know that I've helped somebody do something, it's really heartwarming," said Suber.
She set such a good example that now Haselden wants to become a big buddy.
"I want to help other people to do math and stuff," she said.
To learn more about the "Big Buddy Leaders" program click here.