Big Buddy volunteers show up and come back

Big Buddy Kevin and Little Buddy William. Photo Supplied.

Building confidence and resilience can be difficult for young boys who grow up without their fathers. Big Buddy Mentoring Trust alleviates that by finding willing volunteers who are local good guys from the community to support boys aged between seven and fourteen.

A Big Buddy acts as a role model, offering the boys the opportunity to have one-on-one time with a trusted male adult they can admire and trust.

A Big Buddy relationship doesn’t just provide a man to do ‘blokey things’ with, it offers friendship, support and a good male role model to look up to. Since 1997, over 1,200 Little Buddies have been matched with local good guys around the North Island. This has only been achievable due to the local volunteers who have provided regular contact and shown genuine interest in the life of their Little Buddy. Showing the Little Buddy that this person is here for them and someone they can rely on as they grow up.  

Tauranga/Hamilton Big Buddy Mentoring Manager Brad Fleming explains that there are currently 20 active Big Buddy matches in the Tauranga area.

“By being paired with a Big Buddy, the boys get to see what a good man looks and acts like, they grow in confidence and understand how to form healthy relationships with other males” says Brad, “Without this they may establish relationships that prove harmful to themselves, their families and their communities.”

Tauranga’s mentors who take on the role of Big Buddies come from all walks of life. Some have older kids of their own who have left home, others have young kids, and some have never had children. But each Big Buddy provides a space for a young boy to grow and thrive. They also learn new things alongside their Little Buddy, have adventures and develop new purpose and direction for their own lives.

The success of Big Buddy in Tauranga and Western Bay is down to the people. Big Buddy is a product of the good people who live here and are willing to help. The organisation relies on good men stepping up to help boys in need, and Brad Fleming shares that our community is very fortunate to have the amazing volunteers that we do.

When paired with a Big Buddy, local boys change for the better, becoming more confident and outgoing thanks to the guidance of their mentor.

Big Buddy Mentoring Trust recently received $15,000 towards the Tauranga Big Buddy programme from local funder TECT. This funding goes towards the screening and matching of volunteers as this is a stringent and thorough process that Big Buddy prides itself on to help form those lifelong relationships between their mentors and boys.

TECT Trustee Peter Blackwell says TECT supports the work of Big Buddy Mentoring Trust and the recent funding will assist them in gaining the best local volunteers possible.

“By being able to do a thorough screening process of local men, it ensures that the boys who lack a good male role model will be paired with the best person for them,” says Peter, “They will be offered friendship, support and a good person to look up to.”

“This results in better social connection, inclusion and belonging for the next generation of men in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty.”

As a small community organisation, Big Buddy Mentoring Trust relies on the support of the good guys in its local community who are willing to lend a hand. Local men interested in becoming Big Buddy mentors only need to commit to an hour a week for a minimum of 12 months to support their Little Buddy. Although 12 months this is the minimum time period to provide support, most Big Buddy mentors stay in their Little Buddies life for much longer.

Big Buddy operates in the Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Wellington regions and plans to expand.

For more information on Big Buddy Mentoring Trust and how to become a Big Buddy, head to www.bigbuddy.org.nz

Tauranga/Hamilton Mentoring Manager Brad Fleming. Photo Supplied.

Big Buddy Shane and Little Buddy Isaac. Photo Supplied.


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