Sometimes you just need a Buddy

15 February 2018

Humans are social creatures.

We don’t always have to be with people, but we need to know that someone we can trust is there if we need them. This is vital to mental and emotional well-being.

The Family Works Buddy Programme aims to achieve this. The programme is all about boosting a child’s life with friendship, fun, encouragement and positive attitudes.

By spending a couple of hours a week with a young person, an Adult Buddy can create a positive bond that may be key in the development of the young person. There are times when sometimes you just need a Buddy.

It is not only the Young Buddies who benefit, Adult Buddies also find the programme enjoyable. 

Scott and Jo Gillum have been volunteer Buddies for five years. They joined “because we didn’t have our own children and our nephews didn’t live nearby. We thought it would be good to give some of our time to a local child who needed some extra support.”

“Having the opportunity to be a positive influence, and provide consistency, in a young child’s life is very worthwhile and rewarding. The fact that you also have heaps of fun along the way makes it even better.”

Scott and Jo have been hanging out with their current Young Buddy (age 10) for almost four years now.

They see him for two hours every weekend and have a range of things they do together; anything from baking to wandering around a local track or a beach and collecting shells.

Scott and the Young Buddy have done some wood work projects together, including building a bird house. More small projects are planned.

“Our Young Buddy enjoys the time we spend together. He makes sure that his mum doesn’t plan anything else that might clash with our time together each week.”

As time has gone by the Young Buddy is considered family. One year, he made a gift for Scott for Father’s Day, as Scott has been such a consistent, positive, male role model for him.

“Our Young Buddy has made a lot of progress in developing relationships, and will hopefully be able to use these relationship and social skills with others in future.”

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

Article written by Imogen Duncan