Lifelong benefits of a Buddy

The Buddy Programme, run by Family Works, is focused on providing emotional and social support to children (Young Buddies) matched with trained volunteers (Adult Buddies).

Once a week they hang out, usually for a couple of hours, and provide friendship, support, guidance and encouragement to increase the child’s self-esteem.

Since the Buddy Programme began in 1992, hundreds of young people have been part of the programme. Sometimes is difficult to gauge just how much being part of the programme has helped these young people.

Helen Bond, our Buddy Coordinator in Central Otago, recently connected with Taryn Gray (pictured). Taryn was a Young Buddy over 10 years ago and the impact of our Buddy Programme in her life is very clear.

Taryn joined the Buddy Programme when she was going through a rough patch. She was faced with challenges and changes in her home environment that led to a serious knock to her confidence.

Taryn’s Adult Buddy lived on a farm so they did plenty of farm activities when they got together each week. Taryn remembers the horses in particular.

“It was the highlight of my week, I loved it!”

Taryn remembers learning from her Buddy early on that that “It’s ok to not be ok.”

In their time together, trust was built and Taryn opened up to her Buddy. She helped Taryn work through those traumatic times. Taryn’s confidence grew and she came to terms with the issues she faced.

Taryn said it was “really helpful to have someone trusted I could talk to....looking back, I don’t know if I’d have been able to deal with it if I hadn’t had her”.

The pair remained Buddies for almost two years, until Taryn started high school and it became difficult logistically.

Taryn is now 24 years old and says she often thinks about her Buddy and wonders what she is up to. Taryn has recently began to consider becoming an Adult Buddy herself and looks forward to becoming involved when the time is right.

We are looking for more Adult Buddies to volunteer. Full training and support is provided. If you could offer a child some time, please contact Michelle on 03 477 7115.