Program BUDDY supports children and young people who cannot grow up in their own families. BUDDY steps in to complement the foster care system for children and young people. As children grow up, the system has to allocate increasing amounts of money for every child to adapt into society.
BUDDY is about a relationship that heals children and teaches them to trust adults again. When children spend free time with their volunteer, they can build a relationship based on trust, and at the same time they gain support to help them reach their full potential.
It is a human right for a child to grow up “in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” (UNHCR, 1989). Yet almost 5,000 children in Slovakia do not grow up in their families but in centres for children and families (formerly "children's homes"). Institutional care cannot give them what they need the most: a close relationship with an adult who spends time with them and is not paid to do so. After they leave the centres they often live on the edge of society.
BUDDY finds, selects and connects volunteers with children from centres. During their meetings with the child they provide the most valuable resource, their time. Like this, a healthy, trusting and long-term relationship can gradually grow between them. This relationship provides the basis for meeting the individual needs of the child and supports them while they are finding their place in society.
So that every child not growing up in their own family has at least one person they can trust, and can lead an independent life with dignity.
We find, train and support volunteers so they can provide individual long-term support for vulnerable children who are not growing up in their own families.
Our values guide us on our journey to fulfil our vision of an independent future for children from children’s centres.
everybody needs to feel safe
we build cohesive communities
cooperation is not possible without trust
we work with both expertise and compassion
crucial for a long-lasting positive effect on children and society
In 2006 Ladislav Kossár bought a bracelet for one thousand crowns from children living in a children’s home. He visited the children’s home and asked: “How can I help you?“
The answer was simple:
“Find a way for these children to spend their free time away from the children’s home.“
hat’s how the BUDDY story started.
Overview of our annual reports:
WILLINGNESS TO HELP CHILDREN
- founder buys a bracelet
- BUDDY program began as a summer camp called “4 elements”
- establishment of civic association
- voluntary team
DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN’S SKILLS
- education focused on children’s skills, preparation for independence (tutoring IT, finance, work, communication)
- weekend program with experiential and life skills learning
- first business partnerships
- first employee
WE FIGURED IT OUT
- 8 years passed from founding the organisation and we understood the need for and strength of an individual approach
- implementing principles of attachment theory
- we stop direct work with children and start our pr
- ofessional cooperation with volunteers as agents of change
- 3 BUDDY pairs emerge organically
- 3 workers
2016 - 2018
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND PROFESSIONALISATION
- the focus of the program is creating relationships, selection, education and support of the volunteers by coordinators (psychologists)
- professionalisation of the organisation
- focusing on impact and quality measurement
- sustainability strategy
- 10 workers
STABILISATION AND PREPARATION FOR GROWTH
- strengthening the team and sustaining the quality of the program
- new child protection policy
- first local volunteer recruitment campaign
- fundraising and marketing strategy definition
- 13 workers