Roman Travers - Big Buddy Ambassador
Roman was already involved with Big Buddy when he became an ambassador, having forged an amazing relationship with his Little Buddy Aidan 5 years ago. Roman, himself grew up without a father and jumped at the chance to make a difference for a young boy.
Q: What made you choose Big Buddy to help - there are so many other charities out there that would have loved to have you.
That’s a good point. There are many very good charities that Big Buddy NZ resonated with me because of the way that I was raised: by my mother who had seven children she was left with when my father decided to leave us all. I was about eight at the time and I clearly remember how it felt to have had a father. I can’t begin to emphasise just how important it is for young boys to have a positive role model in their life apart from their good mothers.
Q: Since you have come on board, what have you enjoyed the most?
Hearing stories from Big Buddies while doing the interviews for the Hey Buddy interviews. Hearing about how their lives have changed. For many children have left home, and these guys are putting their father skills to good use again. They are ordinary blokes doing amazing things.
Q: You are also a Big Buddy, which is amazing in itself. How is that going for you?
Life is incredibly busy and at times I do feel pulled in several opposing directions! What I have learnt to do is make better choices, particularly when there is someone involved who may be disappointed if I don’t turn up. I remember that very well as a boy growing up. Aidan and I communicate via WhatsApp and we understand quite clearly when one or the other is unavailable. We plan very carefully the time and days we can catch up… But we also often have absolutely no idea what we are going to do which can be very exciting on the day! What I think is important for anyone considering Big Buddy New Zealand as a charity to work with is that outings need not be anything more than what you would ordinarily do. Making that boy part of everything normal in your life makes the friendship more genuine.
Q: What else is keeping you busy outside of Big Buddy? Any new projects?
Oh my lord, where do I start? I work full time for Pfizer NZ and I have four shifts a week with Newstalk ZB. In saying that, I always find time to catch up with Aidan as well as watching endless rubbish on Netflix! I am looking forward to working more closely with Jason Gunn and Big Buddy New Zealand in order to advance the prominence of this wonderful charity.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your own family background?
Sure thing. Born in Christchurch and then moved to Wellington where I started school. I had only finished the first year of school before we moved over to Masterton where my father left my mother with seven children, the youngest having just been born. There were five boys and two girls and I know that things would have been very different for us all if my father had been part of the family fabric. My mother did an amazing job raising us all on her own under fairly strict catholic conditions. I still look back and wonder how life could have been for us all if my father had stayed. There wasn’t a great deal of anything extra other than a good family household with food on the table. There were rarely any holidays or fancy gadgets… But we certainly made our own fun and had plenty of great adventures as boys! I also recall what it felt like observing other friends' families who had a mother and father at home. For me, it was always a sense of envy and wondering what that would have been like for me.