16 years ago, I never imagined that more than 160 children in Slovakia would have met their BUDDY volunteer.
Great friendships on the Little Danube - this was the spirit of this year´s BUDDY DAY which brought together almost a hundred members of the BUDDY community on the 19th of June 2022. We celebrated the beginning of the summer with children from centres for children and families, their volunteers, our colleagues and supporters by rowing on the Little Danube, playing outdoor games and doing sports near Jelka, a village near Bratislava.
2020 was full of surprises for all of us. We experienced many new feelings and emotions, learned to stay in touch despite social distancing, and tried to overcome the new and unknown. The pandemic showed us how valuable our health is, we re-evaluated our priorities and realized the importance of time spent together. Our relationships were challenged every day, along with our patience and trust – trust in ourselves, but also trust in the relationships around us. Trust is not only one of the core values of the BUDDY program, but also the essence of our relationships with our volunteers, their relationships with the children, and our relationships with you: our supporters, friends and partners.
In 2019 we strengthened the team, systems and processes in preparation for further growth. A new program manager joined the team and we expanded to a new region - Trenčín. We introduced a new child protection policy; prepared our first local volunteer recruitment campaign and defined our fundraising & marketing strategy.
(Un)conventional guy with an exceptionally good heart. About why he chose this path, how he perceives the BUDDY program, what experiences and joys he went through with Juraj, but also about how they regularly spend their time together.
Year 2018 brought further professionalisation of the BUDDY program. The program was independently evaluated by Applied Research Consulting which confirmed that BUDDY creates and maintains strong relationships, which then enable the child’s development. We also strengthened our operations team and introduced a new IT system. We increased financial support from regular recurrent revenues, received the Jacobs Foundation award for social innovation, and acquired the Outcomes Star license, an evidence-based tool to monitor the progress of children towards resilience and independence.
We are proud to share this amazing news. The BUDDY program was awarded one of ten 2018 Klaus. J. Jacobs Awards for social innovation and engagement by the Jacobs Foundation. The #KJJAwards2018 prize was obtained by 10 projects around the world focusing on innovation in care and development of children and young adults.