Buddy Otago volunteering

What: 1:1 mentoring. Boost children's lives with friendship, fun and encouragement.

When: 2 hours per week* on a day that suits you and your young buddy, 12 month commitment.  

Where: Waitaki, East Otago, Dunedin, Mosgiel, Clutha, Alexandra, Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea.

* time commitment is flexible with some of our young buddies who are at the older end of the age group. 


What would you do? 

The Buddy Programme is a preventative programme for children between the ages of four and 12 who are matched 1:1 with a trained adult buddy. The service is offered by Family Works Otago, a Presbyterian Support Service initiative, which was developed in 1992.

The children are referred from a variety of different agencies as well as by their own families. They are referred for a variety of reasons. They are all children whose life circumstances indicate a need for additional adult support.

The aims of the programme are to:

  • Offer friendship, support and guidance
  • Increase child’s self esteem
  • Develop social skills and help children make positive choices
  • Offer opportunities for new social experiences
  • Enable fun and happiness

Volunteers are matched to their buddies depending on gender, personality, skills level geographical proximity and professional judgement from the coordinator. Once accepted and trained volunteers will be introduced to their buddy at the child’s home and activities decided upon. Group activities are also organised by the Buddy Programme which offer new experiences for the children and buddies.

Full training is provided which covers communication skills, boundaries, child development, child abuse and family dynamics. Once accepted volunteers are invited to attend further training including grief, first aid and managing difficult behaviour.

The majority of matches are very successful with some relationships in place for a number of years. We hope volunteers enjoy their role and will develop:

  • Interpersonal skills, particularly with children
  • Better understanding and appreciation of the needs and feelings of others
  • Insight into how actions impacts on others

Presbyterian Support Otago, Vision - Every person is valued and grows in a safe and strong community. 

Requirements | Checks you can expect 

To be eligible for this role, you need to be able to commit to a minimum of 12 months volunteering service or longer*.

Adult Volunteers need to be over 20 years of age and be: committed and reliable, good listeners, unafraid to offer their ideas about what is right or wrong (when appropriate).

They should be able to relate to and understand children whilst developing and maintaining a positive relationship with the child and their families. Volunteers should have an acceptance of differing cultural backgrounds and lifestyles.

Please note, all our volunteers need to complete a Police Check. All volunteers will receive appropriate training and supervision for their role and will be required to sign a Code of Conduct.

A Police background check is required for this role. 

Time commitment

Volunteers meet their buddies every week for about 2 hours. Volunteers need to be able to commit to at least 12 months volunteering from the time they are 'matched' with a young buddy. One days training before you start (held on a weekend), followed by monthly evening training/catch ups with other adult buddies, between 1 and 2 hours. Big buddies look forward to, and get a lot out of, the trainings and catch ups.

* Although we prefer volunteers that can commit weekly for 12 months, we do have some flexibility. To help reduce the waiting list and make sure all young buddies get the benefits of being matched with the adult mentor, we have some flexibility around time commitments. Please enquire to find out more. 

Apply for this role | Request an application form