Making a Difference with Big Buddy
Bringing up a family can be a challenge for the best of us, but for mothers coping with fatherless boys support and positive role models can sometimes be hard to come by. Big Buddy Mentoring Trust is helping to fill the gap by providing positive mentors for fatherless boys aged 7-14. There’s no doubting that the mothers out there are doing a fantastic and courageous job. However, spending time with a mentor who models good male behaviour can make all the difference. And thanks to the Million Dollar Mission, Big Buddy can continue to offer this vital service to families out West.
Million Dollar Mission funding of $20,905 has been used towards employing a co-ordinator dedicated to West Auckland. The co-ordinator’s role is to field enquiries from families with boys that are interested in being part of the programme. In addition, the co-ordinator is responsible for recruiting, screening, and training male volunteers to mentor fatherless boys.
Big Buddy was set up in 2004 and has matched over 800 mentors with boys from a wide variety of environments. Mums regularly report on how much more resilient, confident and happier their boys are as a result of taking part in the mentoring programme.
Simone is one such mum who has seen the impact on her son. ‘I’ve definitely seen positive changes in my son since he’s been seeing his mentor. He comes home and tells me all about what they talked about – which is mostly men’s stuff! He’s become interested in things he wasn’t interested in before which is healthy for him. There are some ‘boy’ things that he just doesn’t engage with me on.’
Women can’t easily ‘model’ those important elements of maleness that boys generally crave and need. And that’s where the mentoring programme has been able to make such a difference. Sadly boys that don’t have a positive male figure to look up to are far more likely to get into trouble at home and at school and can even end up in the criminal justice system.
Just a few hours a week spent hanging out with a fully trained and rigorously screened male volunteer can be the difference for these boys. Whether it’s kicking a ball around at the park, undertaking a DIY project together or tinkering with a car engine, spending time with a kind-hearted, positive male role model is what’s important.
Building confidence & Self-esteem
Big Buddy’s Media & Communications Co-ordinator, Sally Webster, outlines just what a difference mentoring can make:
‘The most common family we help is a solo mum. Typically that mum is worried about her son because he may feel deserted by his father who is absent for a variety of reasons, and he’ll be at a loss as to how to shape himself as a man. This commonly results in a lack of confidence and self-esteem.’’
Sally continues, ‘Thanks to The Trusts Million Dollar Mission we can keep providing help to many more West Auckland mums. We can remove the worry and inject new-found confidence in these fatherless boys – it’s wonderful to hear mums tell us their boys smile more.’
If you are interested in finding out more about Big Buddy’s mentoring service or would like to volunteer, then have a look at their website: www.bigbuddy.org.nz