The Big Buddy mentoring programme is based on the simple philosophy that boys need good male role models in their lives to become good men. Unfortunately, many boys do not have a father or other male role model and while their mothers do courageous work in raising their boys alone, they cannot model maleness. And above all else, boys learn through modelling.

A simple solution is to find these boys a male mentor to foster a relationship similar to that of say an uncle, which can turn into a relationship for life. To this end, Big Buddy recruits and rigorously screens men from the community to act as mentors to these fatherless boys. The Big Buddy mentor contracts to spend at least two hours a week with a boy or adolescent (Little Buddy, aged 7-12) for at least a year. They spend quality time together, doing ordinary things like kicking a ball round a park, fishing, walking on the beach or visiting a museum. The content of the outings is not important – just showing up regularly and listening to a Little Buddy is probably the most important gift a Big Buddy gives. They can both have a lot of fun in the process! A regular weekly phone call adds continuity to the relationship.

Big Buddies and Little Buddies are screened before they are matched and Big Buddy provides ongoing support for the relationship. The idea is simple yet profound in its reach. It simply involves a good man showing up every week into a boy’s life, assuring him another man cares for him and giving him a model of what it means to be a good man. No coaching, no psychological behaviour management, no blaming of parents.

Knowing there is a man he can trust to show up and to listen will increase the boy’s self-esteem and improve his relationships. He will do better at school and be less inclined to crime and abuse.

You can find more information and contact details on Big Buddy in the Auckland region (north, central, west, and south) and the Wellington region via their website www.bigbuddy.org.nz

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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