About Big Buddy

About Big Buddy

The seeds of Big Buddy were sown in 1997 when Man Alive reduced the number of at-risk boys growing up without father figures. They succeeded through finding those boys positive male role models. In 2004 Big Buddy grew up and away from it's parent organisation and has now matched over 800 mentors with all kinds of boys from all walks of life.

What is Big Buddy?

Big Buddy recruits positive male role models to mentor fatherless boys aged between 7 and 14 years. It is an organisation designed to better the lives of boys whose dads are absent, by giving them a man of good character to trust and rely on for as little as 2-3 hours a week in many cases. This quality time is proven to develop more confidence and happiness in these boys.

This  award-winning, secular service (meaning it has no religious affiliations) is run by dedicated professionals  and practitioners who rigorously screen men from the communities we operate in. The safety and happiness of our boys is paramount and our screening program is reputedly the most discerning of any agency or club in New Zealand. Our team covers the Auckland, South Auckland, North Shore/Rodney, Waikato and Wellington regions, with expansion plans for Christchurch in 2019.

How does Big Buddy operate?

Born from ideas to reduce the numbers of fatherless boys going to prison in 1997, Big Buddy went on to become a registered charity in 2002. We are governed by the Big Buddy Mentoring Trust, comprised of four trustees, as shown our Team page. Our organisation is also supported by the fundraising efforts of the Big Buddy Foundation: members include Chair Jeff Meltzer, Grant Fox, Roger Moses, Travis Field, Mark Talbot, Clare Wilson and Grant Porteous.

For 15 years, Richard Aston was CEO and took the organisation from a fledgling social agency of two, to a highly respected charity of over 15 staff and contractors. Paul Burns took over in August 2017 and continues to grow the Big Buddy reach and reputation.

Every facet of the Big Buddy mentoring program works on the simple philosophy that boys do best with positive male role models in their lives. While mothers and grandmothers do a courageous job of raising their boys without a father figure, women can’t ‘model’ those elements of maleness that boys generally crave.

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What's the next step?

Are you a mum or carer looking for a mentor for your boy? Are you a man who is interested in becoming a mentor? Find out more right here.

Benefits of having a Big Buddy

Time and again mums and female carers tell us how happy their boys have become since having a Big Buddy. Research also shows that for a boy growing up without a father, the benefits of having a Big Buddy include:

  • a marked improvement to boys’ confidence overall
  • an increased feeling of general happiness in boys’ lives
  • a willingness to go outside their comfort zone and try new things
  • an improvement in ability to relate to others

Big Buddy does not replace fathers. In the rare event that a boy does have a father present, we carefully establish how much contact they have and will only get involved if the contact and input is minimal, and if we have the father’s consent.

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Our vision

Big Buddy envisions a community in which every boy experiences a nurturing one-to-one relationship with at least one adult male. Our highest vision is that every fatherless boy in New Zealand will have a good male mentor to guide him into adulthood with true self-worth. This will support him to make positive life choices and live a life of purpose and meaning as an involved member of our community.

What's the next step?

Contact us to take the next step in becoming a mentor and changing lives.

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