Buddy Break? What's Buddy Break?
November 21, 2019
Have you heard of Buddy Break and wondered what it’s all about? Buddy Break is a ministry that Deermeadows provides, along with other churches all around the country! This ministry is an opportunity to serve the families of children with special needs in our community. We provide parents/guardians a morning out (respite care) the second Saturday of every month.
During this time adult and teen volunteers (or Buddies) share Christ’s love with our VIPs, who are children who have special needs and their neuro-typical siblings – through PLAY!
A typical Buddy Break Saturday morning starts at 8:30am for Buddies. We have a brief meeting to go over routine safety procedures and any new happenings such as special activities. That is when the buddies find out which VIP they get to hang out with that day, and the meeting is wrapped up with a prayer for all volunteers and attendees.
Buddies get to reference a file we have on the VIP they have been assigned. This prepares our volunteers with the information from the parents regarding the child’s likes, dislikes, special needs, etc. Every child has unique preferences -- some like bubbles while others like music. We spend most of the morning together in the Gathering Place which is set up with all types of activities--basketball, Legos, arts and crafts, board games, Sit ‘n Spin, cars, parachute, and so much more. We also have a dedicated quiet room if anyone needs a break from the excitement!
VIPS arrive at 9:00 when the parents drop them off knowing their children are in a safe and caring environment. At that time the buddies meet the VIP face to face and the fun begins! The VIPs get to choose what activities they want and the buddies happily follow suit within safety guidelines. We often conclude with the favorite group activity with many of us around a parachute playing--it’s pretty cool! At noon, we wrap up the day feeling grateful for the opportunity to serve.
At our November Buddy Break, we had 17 kids (some VIPs with special needs, some siblings) 26 Buddies, 1 tractor driver, and 3 therapy dog teams (thanks to the therapy animal coalition Jacksonville, FL) …Whew. We had so much fun! We enjoyed hayrides, had visits from therapy dogs (one who could dance to baby shark and wore a fin!) and made hand print art.
We have big plans for Decembers' Buddy Break…but shhh we can’t tell... its a secret. (Hint: No two are alike, brrrr…)
Need more information or have questions? Email Kaitlyn Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure you are comfortable helping with a child with special needs? Let us know and we can pair you with a sibling. We are also on the lookout for someone to help provide snacks!
One thing we know – Buddy Break is a blessing to the families who bring their children but even more so to every volunteer.