After a difficult pregnancy, Anna introduced two healthy bundles of joy, Seamus and Flynn, to this world. This was the first time she felt true gratitude, a deep, soul-shaping gratitude that transformed her entire perspective of the world. The second time was when she realised what she had found in the Big Buddy volunteers her boys were matched with.
Anna’s boys had just turned seven when she approached Big Buddy. Initially, she was hesitant, unsure about letting go and allowing another person into their family’s space. Anna however knew that “loving children comes with loving their growth as individuals as well. They are their own little people, learning to be in the world – and that world is a lot bigger than mum!”
Despite her hesitancy, Anna was quickly put at ease when she made contact with Big Buddy’s Wellington Mentoring Manager Dave. His warm, honest and reassuring nature was appreciated from the start. Soon enough, Dave was visiting Seamus and Flynn at their home, where the boys took full advantage of the opportunity to suss him out!
Big Buddy puts a lot of care into matching the Little Buddies up with the right men, as was the case with the twins. Seamus was first to be matched with Thomas. Flynn’s match followed a few months later as he was paired with Ryan.
Speaking four years later, Anna says the now 11 year olds “have grown up and indeed blossomed in the care of these men. They see them every week, without fail, and they talk and text. In short, they absolutely adore them.”
Both Big Buddies have gone the extra mile when face-to-face contact hasn’t been possible. While in Wales with his family last Christmas, Thomas sent Seamus regular vlogs and got his family to record video greetings. Thomas also surprised the boys by hiding Easter eggs in their garden early Easter morning. Meanwhile, during the lockdown, Ryan connected with Flynn from opposite sides of the street, with the pair eagerly calling out to each other as day turned to dusk.
Seamus and Thomas’ favourite activity currently is Dungeons & Dragons. They also enjoy just hanging out, cooking together, going for walks and exploring the beach. Meanwhile, Ryan has shared his love of the outdoors with Little Buddy Flynn. When they’re together, they can be found snorkeling, diving, fishing, rock pooling and camping.
Anna speaks highly of the Big Buddies:
“These are men don’t just talk about their values, they enact them, on a weekly basis, in an ongoing way, no matter what’s going on in their lives or what’s going on in ours. Who give back to the world quietly and without fanfare, undertaking the noble task of supporting boys in their growth into young men.”
Not only do the Big Buddies offer Anna’s boys experiences she wouldn’t be able to, they also supplement her love and support for them. They have filled an important gap in the boys’ lives, providing them with the dependable influence of positive male role models.
Anna sees the gift of Big Buddy not only being to the boys but to their family as a whole. Thomas and Ryan’s commitment to Seamus and Flynn has opened up space in her life. She has since completed a Masters of Teaching and Learning, using this to contribute to the world in her own way. No doubt, Seamus and Flynn will find their own way of giving one day too.