By Guest Blogger Ginger Shields, Director of Children’s Ministry
Each month, West Market Street United Methodist Church in downtown Greensboro offers Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break to families in the Greensboro community. Buddy Break is a free kids program where kids with special needs (VIP kids) make new friends, have fun playing games, hear and see great children’s stories, videos, music and more! Siblings have fun too! Meanwhile, their caregivers get a break from their ongoing care-giving responsibilities usually for three hours.
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.
Why is Buddy Break needed?
The weight and stress of finding proper doctors, teachers, and financial resources for a VIP child’s care can be overwhelming. Those responsibilities, along with the never-ending demands of daily care-giving and life in general, leave little opportunity for caregivers to take time for themselves, run errands, or spend time with a spouse or other children—things 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.
Buddies are friends of VIPs. No previous experience is necessary, just a loving heart and open arms. Buddies are volunteers who are at least 14 years of age and have been screened and trained through a two-hour “Buddy Training 101” class.
Where is Buddy Break?
Buddy Break is a growing ministry to the VIP community in Greensboro and across the nation. West Market Street United Methodist Church (302 West Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27401) and local churches in more than 15 states partner with Nathaniel’s Hope, an Orlando-based outreach organization. Nathaniel’s Hope was founded by Tim and Marie Kuck in order to share hope and encouragement with kids with special needs and their families while educating and equipping the community to reach out to VIP kids and their families. Sarah Gray is the Buddy Break Director in Greensboro’s West Market Street United Methodist Church. Sarah is a special education teacher in the Guilford County School system and has a passion for helping VIP kids.
The next Buddy Break in Greensboro is just around the corner (see details below) and we need you to help. Wondering how you can help?
- If you are 14 years old or older, sign up to be a Buddy
- If your family wants to serve together, volunteer to be in charge of a room – e.g., art room, music room, recreation room, quiet reading room, etc.
- If your child would like to attend Buddy Break, make sure you call now to reserve a spot!
- Spread the word!! Forward this blog post to anyone you know that might be interested in helping or in having their child(ren) attend Buddy Break!
WHERE: West Market Street United Methodist Church in Greensboro NC
WHEN: Third Saturday of each month; next two Buddy Breaks are: Saturday, January 16, 2016 and Saturday, February 20, 2016. Program hours: 10:00 am -1:00 pm.
Additionally, West Market Street United Methodist Church has a Sunday school class for children with special needs during its contemporary worship hour between 9 and 10 am. The class is held during this service time so families have an opportunity to worship together and develop an additional support system with other families who share the same struggles.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Check out other “Doing Good Things” blogs here:
“Doing Good Things Series” – H.O.P.E
“Doing Good Things Series”- Empowered Girls of North Carolina
“Doing Good Things Series” – The Speech Bus