Buddy Break is a free kids/respite program where children with special needs (VIP kids) make new friends, play fun games, enjoy crafts, therapy dogs, stories, music activities, and more! Siblings have fun too! Meanwhile, their caregivers get a break from their ongoing care-giving responsibilities for three hours. Buddy Break is open to church members and non-church members with VIP kids ages 3 through 16 years.
Each VIP kid is paired one-on-one with a screened volunteer “Buddy” to participate in that day’s activities.
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.
Buddies are friends of VIPs.
To sign up for the program as a VIP
Complete the secure online VIP Form(s). If you have any siblings that you’d like to have attend Buddy Break, fill out the Sibling form too.
Contact us to reserve your space at a required VIP orientation. (Contact information is below.) This allows us to meet you and your children and gives you a chance to see Buddy Break before you begin participating. Prior to orientation, print, complete and have the following two forms notarized.
Once you have signed up for the program and gone through orientation, you’ll need to make a reservation for each month that you want to attend Buddy Break. Space is limited and pre-registration is required, so register early! To make a reservation for our upcoming Buddy Break as a VIP:
How do I sign up to be a Buddy?
No previous experience with VIP kids is necessary to be a Buddy, just a loving heart, open arms, and a willingness to learn. You must be at least 14 years of age and you will be trained through a two-hour Buddy Training 101 class. You also agree to have a background check run on your information.
To sign up for the program as a Buddy:
- Contact us at email@example.com to arrange your required visit at one of our Buddy Break dates listed below.
- Complete the secure online Buddy Form.
- Email BuddyBreak@st.lukes.org when you have submitted the online Buddy Form.
- Next, you will then be contacted by the Care office to complete an online background check.
- The Buddy Break Coordinator will then contact you upon completion of all steps to schedule your training.
For further information about being a Buddy contact:
Coordinator: Shannon Wendel
Assistant Coordinator: Donna Barley
BuddyBreak@st.lukes.org or call St. Luke’s at 407.876.4991.
Nathaniel’s Hope at 407.857-.8224.
2018 Buddy Breaks:
- April 7
- May 5
- August 4
- September 8
- October 6
- November 3
- December 1
All Buddy Breaks will be held on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the 2nd Floor of Building C. There are no Buddy Breaks during June and July.