Among the many valuable initiatives that Family Works offers the Buddy Programme is special, as it provides adult mentors for children who need additional support.
Marcella Schouten is an adult Buddy who volunteers a few hours a week with a young girl.
“I’m volunteering my time because I think it’s very important. My buddy is seven years old, and I started with her when she was six.”
“I pick her up from school once a week and we do activities together such as ice-skating, crafts, visiting the museum, walking on the beach, baking and many others.”
Marcella finds herself missing the delightful company of her buddy. “I see my buddy two hours a week and think of her often during the week. She is part of my life now and this is what makes the programme a success.”
Marcella never feels like being a buddy is a chore; she relishes the importance of her mentoring role and the fun that it can bring.
“I find the Buddy Programme a lot of fun. It’s a nice and easy way to pass on knowledge and information from my family to another child in need. I believe children are a very important group to foster and nurture.”
“We once went to Tunnel Beach and she wanted to bring a big stone up the hill as a souvenir. She had to carry this heavy rock up the steep hill and I tried to get her to swap it for a smaller rock, but she was determined that this particular rock would be her prize.”
Marcella feels contentment and happiness about the positive effect that she has on her young buddy.
“Since I've been her buddy she's doing a lot better in school and in everyday life. She doesn’t have to make up stories about her life, as she now has interesting and exciting stories of her own to share.”
Article by Isabel Colville and Jack Sharp