Making a difference

Family Works Buddy Programme understands the importance of connecting to people. A positive connection is needed between people, to assist with mental and emotional well-being.

The aim of the Buddy Programme is to offer an adult who can spend quality time with a child, and help make a difference in the child’s life.

Marcella Schouten is one such Buddy.

“The Buddy Programme a lot of fun, it’s a very 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,” said Marcella.

Once a week Marcella and her buddy spend time doing fun activities around the city.

“I think it is important for her to know where she lives, by that I mean all that is surrounding Dunedin, and what a wonderful place in the world it is.”

“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 to share.”

“I find it such an easy way to blend volunteering in with my life but I really feel like I can make a difference, I'm not going to change the world but I change her world.”  

It is the little moments that the Buddies share together that stand out in Marcella’s mind.

“It's moments like those where I realise the little activities really make such a difference in her life.  She has become like an added family member or friend, I consider myself very lucky and so does she.”

Being a buddy is one way to help make a positive difference in a young person’s life.  

 Adult Buddies are always needed, right across Otago. Full training and support is provided. Contact Michelle on 03 477 7115 to find out more about becoming a Buddy volunteer.

Article written by Imogen Duncan