Big Buddy launches in Tauranga, providing support for boys without fathers in their lives
Tuesday 18 August 2020
Currently, there are approximately 893 Fatherless Boys in the Waikato Region and around 48,669 Boys aged 7-14 living in solo parent families around New Zealand. Big Buddy, a New Zealand organisation, works to tackle that issue and provide father figures for the young boys of NZ.
In a recent Media Release, Big Buddy announced its launch in Tauranga, extending the much-needed service beyond Auckland, Waikato, and Wellington. Big Buddy provides support for boys who don’t have fathers in their lives, matching them with a volunteer Big Buddy who, quite simply, shows up, spends time and comes back - providing a consistent source of support and friendship that often lasts well into adulthood. Big Buddy, a new organisation, works on the simple philosophy that boys develop more confidence and resilience when they have a positive male role model to look up to. Big Buddy is all about encouraging confidence and resilience in the lives of boys without a father around.
The Tauranga service has already sparked interest from men in the region. Many have expressed an interest in becoming a Big Buddy, and will now take part in a thorough screening process. CEO Paul Burns says, “being a Big Buddy is a generous yet simple gesture that makes such a difference to these boys. Our Big Buddies come from all types of backgrounds and life stages, but they all share a common goal - and that is to make a difference for these boys and give back in some way”
More than 900 buddies have been matched by Big Buddy over the years. An increase in confidence, happiness, and general wellbeing are among the benefits cited by boys and their mums or caregivers.
Tauranga was selected as the next place to offer Big Buddy services due to the number of inquiries they had from mothers and caregivers in the region. Says Paul, "Tauranga is the fastest growing city in NZ at present - and with that no doubt comes increased need for services like Big Buddy. We are really pleased to have been able to extend our service into the region and are thrilled to have already made our first match”
Little Buddies are aged between 7 – 14 years of age, although the matches often carry on well into adulthood through lifelong bonds created. Say’s Paul, “ these years are the most formative and impressionable for a boy. A few hours a week kicking a ball, climbing trees or simply hanging out with a Big Buddy makes a tangible positive difference for these boys.”
Matt Anderson-Smith is Big Buddy’s Mentoring Manager for the region, and moved to Tauranga almost a year ago. He says “The Bay of Plenty has easily become home. I feel very lucky and proud to be matching the good men of this community with our boys, who all deserve a great mentor and friend in their lives. Making our first match in Tauranga was very exciting. I knew the pair would learn and grow so much together. There have been lots of adventures for them both to date and plans for more in the future. I am proud to be a part of that”
Big Buddy is one of the newest residents of Tauranga co-working space The Kollective. Mums and caregivers of boys aged 7-14 who would benefit from the service are invited to register interest at www.bigbuddy.co.nz
You can also support Big Buddy by becoming a regular donor and making a small financial donation or by expressing interest in becoming a Big Buddy yourself.