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For over 20 years, DARTS Learning Buddies Program has served Dakota County communities by connecting community members with elementary students to work together on classwork, share experiences, and learn from one another for 1-2 hours each week throughout the school year.

Learning Buddies has grown from a single school in 1997 to over 212 classrooms in Dakota, Scott and Ramsey Counties. This intergenerational program has served nearly 60,000 students and logged more than 100,000 volunteer hours, but students in your community still need your help.

Do you…

  • have 1-2 hours a week?

  • want to give back to your community?

  • interested in mentoring young people?

  • want to connect with others while participating in ongoing training?

  • want to collaborate with both teachers and students?

  • live or work in the Dakota, Scott or Ramsey Counties?

You can be a Learning Buddy!

If traveling or time commitment is an issue, please ask about our Pen Pal Program!  Volunteers will write letters to a 2nd or 3rd grader from assigned classrooms and will meet with the students in-person at the end of the year. Signing up for this program takes place between June – September in order to be matched with a student.

"I volunteer as a DARTS Learning Buddy because I believe that learning to read is the most critical tool a child needs in order to have success in school and in life. I also enjoy, and get great satisfaction from, helping a child develop and improve that tool." Jack S.

"I volunteer with DARTS because I have more purpose in my life, and when I volunteer at Cedar Park Elementary School, it makes me feel needed. I so enjoy seeing the children learn new things; their eyes light up and I feel their excitement. It's a privilege to work with them." Rita R.

"I enjoy Learning Buddies because I believe we need to invest in our children, because they are our future." Marie Sears

"What's not to like about it? I get to spend time with children who are eager to learn and ready to be your special friend. The children lift my spirit and make my day brighter. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their experience at school." Peg Smutka

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