Watching the joy her daughter gained from being an Adult Buddy while a student at the University of Otago several years ago, persuaded Wanaka resident, Linda, to join the Buddy Programme when she retired. Last month she kept that promise to herself.
Linda and her partner, Mark, have now completed Buddy training and are about to meet their Young Buddy.
“Semi-retirement means we now have the time and energy to become reliable friends to a young person and we are really looking forward to sharing a little bit of our lives with him or her,” says Linda.
“Our own children have flown the nest so it will be lovely to support a Young Buddy in their interests.”
Linda said she was impressed with the practical training provided by the Buddy Coordinator, Sharon Bell, the friendly support from other Adult Buddies, and the fact that the time she and Mark spend with their Young Buddy will not mean costly outings.
“Activities are in the realm of everyday things, many of which we would be doing anyway, so there's no expectation of us having to spend extra money each week,” adds Linda.
“We were surprised to learn the programme needs another 100 volunteers throughout Otago to meet current demand – that's a lot of children missing out on a positive friendship. We really encourage people, singles like my daughter, or couples like us, to join like-minded volunteers in making a difference in a child's life.”
“The training and support have been wonderful. We feel well prepared, and excited to meet our Young Buddy.”
If being an Adult Buddy sounds of interest to you, please call Family Works on 03 477 7116 to find out about a programme in your area. Or, visit the Buddy Programme page.