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The St Peter’s College Buddy Up Program supports parents in our wider community who have a child living with a disability by giving them a well-deserved afternoon off. Throughout Terms 1 and 2, our guests have been supported by our senior students (their buddies), parents and staff at the School in a safe and friendly environment that meets their needs. Together, the buddies spend the afternoon participating in activities including crafts, treasure hunts, reading and games. Our guests have dinner with us in the Da Costa Dining Hall before they are picked up by their parents at 7.00pm.

This term, seven guests joined us on a fortnightly basis buddied up with two Year 11 students per guest. I can only commend our student volunteers on their enthusiastic, sensitive, caring and mature approach to supporting their buddies, and in turn providing parents with some regular respite.

Furthermore, I’d like to thank our Year 12 support crew, School Captains, parent volunteers and staff Mr Barnaby Eaton and Mr Zac Savage for helping to make the Buddy Up Program such a positive experience for the student volunteers and our guests this term.

If you are in Year 11 and interested in volunteering with Buddy Up in Terms 3 or 4, please email me at


Here are some student reflections from this term:

My personal experience with the Buddy Up Program was that it was something completely different to what I have done in the past. It was eye opening to glimpse inside the life of a family who has a child with a disability. It was a great feeling to be able to give back to the families and give them some time to themselves and provide their child with a fun afternoon each fortnight. The thing I most enjoyed was seeing the improvement of the communication of my buddy from the first session to the last. Jalen was quiet at the start with us, but by the last session he was chatty and more confident with us which was really enjoyable to see. – Sam, Year 11

Buddy Up has been a rewarding experience. I was partnered with Ruckshan and our buddy was Charlie. Charlie LOVES cars. We spent most of our time driving and drifting our imaginary cars around the school. Charlie has a few special needs but I never felt any difference between him and a typical ‘normal’ kid. The most enjoyable part of the experience was after each session when Charlie was leaving, and I asked him “Did you have fun?” His enthusiastic response of “Yes!” always made me feel warm and joyful. From the program, I learnt a lot about interacting with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neuro-diverse disabilities, but the main thing I learnt was that these children have the ability to do things like any other children, even if they need a bit more practice and may experience more difficulties. This means that opportunities shouldn’t be taken away from them just because of the challenges they face in life, but instead they should be supported to do what they want. The main takeaway is that we shouldn’t let these disorders limit their freedom in life. – Sean, Year 11

I was fortunate enough to be buddied up with Charlotte who has been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), ADHD and sensory processing disorder which made it challenging at times. But from the beginning, Charlie (Year 11) and I set a goal to make Charlotte’s enjoyment of the program our highest priority. Over the four sessions I encountered struggles that I hadn’t faced before which required me to adapt to the situation so that Charlotte’s needs were prioritised. I would highly recommend this to anybody who is thinking about participating in the future, learning from kids like Charlotte is a highly valuable experience that is vastly undervalued. – Olivier, Year 11

For this term’s Buddy Up program, my guest was Izabella. Izzy has Autism Spectrum Disorder and a mild intellectual disability, and she is very bubbly and chatty. For all the sessions, she always talked with other kids and students during the afternoon, and her enthusiasm always gave everyone energy. The four sessions this term has left me with great memories. I can still remember making giant bubbles for the kids, and the soapy water going everywhere. Every time we saw these kids smile on, we felt what we were doing was worth it. I remember meeting one of the parents among these kids, and the kid proudly showed us a photo of his dad and himself, which really warmed my heart. The experience of Buddy Up was unforgettable, and I hope we leave these kids with a good memory of their time with us. – Sky, Year 11

I supported Charlie this term. Charlie has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Level 3 development delay. He loved playing games and playing cars with me and his other buddy, Sean. I did find it challenging to balance his wishes with his needs at times as he sometimes wanted to go around playing his car games, whilst we had to do other things such as going to dinner. However, in general this was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. I could tell that Charlie had a lot of fun in these sessions and found this a very enjoyable experience. His parents also got some much earned respite. From these sessions I have learnt how to put others ahead of yourself and the fact that not everyone is so privileged as I am. – Ruckshan, Year 11

During the Buddy Up experience I was partnered with two other students with a little boy Jalen. He struggles with communication and is also very energetic and loves to run around, which was fun but tiring at the same time. We supported him by playing fun games, giving him snacks after school and chasing around after him – he loves the elevator! The most challenging part of being buddied up with Jalen is he loves to run, so we had to keep an eye on him at all times, whilst also trying to understand what he wanted to do. We had great fun looking after Jalen and playing games, running around playing basketball, and hanging around the other partners. I learnt a lot during the Buddy Up Program but the most important thing I learnt was how much it meant to Jalen and his family; although the sessions were only once a fortnight, his family seemed to benefit so much from this. The Buddy Up Program was a great experience and I recommend it for all students in the future who might be thinking of signing up. – Josh, Year 11

Ashleigh Day
Service Learning Coordinator