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Big Buddy greets Tamihere’s ‘Young Male’ programme

3 September 2004

Waitakere’s ‘Big Buddy’ greets Tamihere’s ‘Young Male’ programme

Big Buddy, a homegrown Waitakere initiative to help young men develop better self esteem, is mirrored by the Ministry of Youth Development’s programme Young Males: Strengths-based and Males Focused Approaches launched today at Youthline Auckland.

The ‘Big Buddy’ programme, poised to be launched as a nationwide community based organisation, has been working in the area of youth esteem for the past seven years, working on the premise that “boys need good men in their lives to become good men themselves,” says Chief Executive Richard Aston.

In November, a national Big Buddy programme will be launched from Waitakere to expand to the major provincial centres throughout New Zealand

Youth Minister John Tamihere says the issues facing young Kiwi men are being reviewed to “put young Kiwi males at the top of the policy agenda.”

He says that young men are not a problem to be fixed, but require “positive role models and direction in their lives.”

The Ministry of Youth Development recognises that agencies and organisations such as Big Buddy are helping young men to develop better self-esteem, be more confident, have better health, perform better at school and reject crime and abuse.

The Big Buddy programme considers that “young men need older men in their lives. We don’t blame absent fathers. We give training to volunteers to become Big Buddies, male mentors who contract to spend about at least two hours a week with a boy or adolescent (Little Buddy) who doesn’t have a father or other male role model in his life,” says Mr Aston.

“We have developed a safe and effective programme, recruiting volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds,” he says.

The Youth Ministry’s review on the “challenges to young New Zealand men is intended to be helpful to both current programme providers and anyone considering developing programmes for young men,” says Mr Tamihere.

ENDS.

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