Big Buddy kids celebrate Thanksgiving at Southern

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Kids in the Big Buddy program also got a kick start on Thanksgiving Tuesday, but this year the holiday was celebrated with a twist.

Arts and crafts and good food are the norm for school-aged kids this time of the year. But this year, Southern University decided to take a group of Big Buddy kids on a journey around the world for Thanksgiving with the help of several international students.

"Ranging from Grenada to Senegal to China...the Bahamas that are going to be telling the kids where they're from, a little bit about their country and just to be thankful no matter where they're located," said Jael Gordon, Southern University Coordinator of Student Organizations.

Big Buddy site director at Lanier Elementary Malaiika Gibson says the food and culture were not the only new experiences for these kids today.

"These students don't normally always have an opportunity to experience a college campus or major events with a large amount of people being there," said Gibson.

The holiday treats kept rolling at Southern.  Several student organizations put together Thanksgiving baskets for each child to take home.

"Most of the children that we serve are on free and reduced lunch, and they're labeled as 'at-risk youth'," said Gibson.

Gordon says this is just more of a reason for the university to continue to reach out to kids around the city.

"We're going to continue to do this every year," said Gordon. "We're going to try to branch out even further next year."

Southern University chancellor Dr. James Llorens bought and donated all of the turkeys that the kids took home in their Thanksgiving baskets.

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