Nov 14, 2021
By Hannah Gonsiorek, ’22
From the ages of 10 to 12, Amanda Snyder of Olean found encouragement and inspiration through St. Bonaventure University’s Bona Buddies program. At the time, she was one of five siblings being raised by a single mom working several jobs. Bona Buddies guaranteed her quality time with a trusted mentor each week. Those moments paid off.
Today, Snyder, 31, is a U.S. Army veteran who holds an associate degree in business, a certification in plumbing technology and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree while working and raising a family.
“Being involved with Bona Buddies set a standard for me at a very young age,” Snyder said. “I looked at my mentor and thought how awesome she was and knew I wanted to be like that.”
Since 1975, the Franciscan Center for Social Concern (FCSC) has paired local students from kindergarten to sixth grade with Bona students through the Bona Buddies program. Its purpose is to boost confidence and encourage children to pursue their dreams. The program also provides parents with a network of support and college students with the chance to make a difference in a young person’s life.
“I don’t think my daughter would be where she is today without it,” said Loretta Ivanich, Snyder’s mother and a longtime employee of St. Bonaventure.
For Ivanich, the few hours her daughter spent with Bona Buddies during the week made all the difference. In the midst of juggling several jobs to provide for her young children, Bona Buddies was the perfect way to engage her daughter in fun activities, while leaving Ivanich time to make extra money, get caught up on housework, or just have a much-needed moment to decompress.
Ivanich remembers her daughter being shy as a youngster, struggling to build social relationships. Bona Buddies offered a mentoring environment.
“Amanda found direction through the program,” she said.
Hiking, fishing, and bowling were just a few of the many things her daughter enjoyed with her Bona Buddy.
Ivanich noted that developing this relationship with an older female helped to heighten her daughter’s maturity level and social skills, as well as reroute her direction as to where she wanted to take her life.
Snyder agreed. “It’s a great mentoring program,” she said. “I don’t want to see it ever go away.”
To help raise money and awareness for Bona Buddies and other service programs on campus, the FCSC will host #GivingTuesdayatBonas, a one-day fundraising event on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Across the United States, the GivingTuesday movement is intended to be a way to encourage people to support their favorite non-profit causes as part of their holiday giving.
The community is invited to visit www.sbu.edu/GivingTuesdayatBonas now through Nov. 30 to learn more and to make a contribution.