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A Closer Look at PRA Group’s Lunch Buddy Mentoring Program During National Mentoring Month 

PRA Group Sponsors Year-Round Youth Mentorship Program in Partnership with United Way of South Hampton Roads

January is National Mentoring Month, a time to recognize those who shaped who we are today and an opportunity to help the next generation develop as people and professionals. Through PRA Group’s sponsorship of United Way of South Hampton Roads, the global financial services company helped launch the Lunch Buddy Program, during which children at an elementary school nearby PRA Group’s global corporate headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, are paired with a local professional who provides mentorship and consistent emotional support throughout their school year. Since the spring of 2023, volunteers from PRA Group have been taking part in the program, using their lunch breaks to get out of the workplace and give back to their community.  

Every other week during the school year, mentors meet with their buddies at Thurgood Marshall Elementary to spend time together at lunch while giving valuable advice and guidance. The Lunch Buddy program provides students with an adult they can trust and rely on. Heather Hall, vice president of operations for Claims Compensation Bureau, a subsidiary of PRA Group, values the opportunity to be a stable influence in her mentee’s life. She said, “children need consistency and somebody to count on, even if it’s just playing cards for 30 minutes every couple of weeks at lunch time, it’s something that they look forward to and it brings them joy. It’s very fulfilling to provide that.” 

In addition to the benefits the students gain from the program, those participating as mentors see the program as an opportunity for reflection and self-improvement. PRA Group Community Outreach Specialist Jillian Talley, who helped put the program into motion, gave her thoughts on her experience as a mentor: “when you’re working with a child, you’re sort of viewing yourself through their eyes and realizing that there are things about yourself that you need to constantly improve upon and that there’s always room for growth.” 

PRA Group and United Way of South Hampton Roads plan to build on the success of the Lunch Buddy Program by offering it to Oscar Smith Middle School students in the new year. Skylar Bacevich, public relations and communications manager for PRA Group, hopes to continue with her mentee through elementary and on to middle school, building on the growth she has already witnessed. She said, “The more we talk, the more our conversations reveal that my mentee is learning how to fight for what she wants. I love being in a position to help her understand that she has all the tools she needs.” 

With one lunch break every other week, Lunch Buddy mentors are helping students build the confidence that they need to pursue their dreams while making a positive difference in their own lives.


About PRA Group

As a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans, PRA Group, Inc. returns capital to banks and other creditors to help expand financial services for consumers in the Americas, Europe and Australia. With thousands of employees worldwide, PRA Group companies collaborate with customers to help them resolve their debt. For more information, please visit www.pragroup.com.

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Elizabeth.Kersey@PRAGroup.com

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