Kids have fun. Parents get a break. Volunteers are trained. VIP community is helped.
Who are VIP kids?
VIPs are kids with special needs, which include any physical, cognitive, medical or hidden disability, chronic or life-threatening illness, or those who are medically fragile. This program is for VIP children birth ages: 2-16 years old, and their siblings: 4 years old to 5th grade. Some Buddy Break locations expand their program based on their need to serve a wider age range.
Who are Buddies?
Buddies are friends of VIPs. No previous experience with VIP kids is necessary to be a Buddy, just a loving heart, open arms, and a willingness to learn. Screened volunteer Buddies are paired one-to-one with a VIP kid. Buddies must be at least 14 years of age, complete a two-hour Buddy Training 101 program, and agree to have a background check run. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and special education teachers are invited to participate.
Why is there a need for Buddy Break?
The weight and stress of finding proper doctors, teachers, and financial resources for a VIP child’s care can be overwhelming. Those responsibilities, as well as the never-ending demands for daily care-giving, are squeezed into days already filled with the usual routine of caring for a household, siblings, and self. Opportunities for caregivers to take time for themselves, run errands, or plan special one-on-one outings with children or a spouse are rare yet desperately needed to survive. Buddy Break provides a safe place for VIPs and their siblings to have fun and establish meaningful friendships with other kids and adults while their caregivers get a break.
Oftentimes, kids with disabilities and their families are missed by today’s society. Most people don’t realize:
- One out of ten kids under the age of 14 has some type of special need.
- Mental health treatment for stress is two to three times higher for parents of children with special health needs versus that reported by parents of children who are well.
- Statistics show that the divorce rate is 80 percent for couples with a child with a disability.
- Families may experience extreme isolation, depression, loneliness, and fatigue.
VIP kids are more than statistics though, and it is our goal to make sure that VIP families are cared for and encouraged. Because we treasure each child’s uniqueness, we require that parents attend an orientation and fill out a detailed questionnaire about their child. This helps our Buddies to give specialized care.
When and where is Buddy Break?
This program is held in partnership with churches in various locations across the nation. See the Locations & Dates button on the left menu for exact locations and dates. New locations will be added to this website as they are started.
How can I sign up for Buddy Break?
It’s easy to get started! Choose from the left menu if you are a VIP, a Buddy, or if you want to start a Buddy Break at your church.