When I heard about Buddy Break, I was flooded with so many emotions. Hearing about Buddy Break’s heart and mission for families with special needs children moved me in several ways.

Buddy Break’s mission is to celebrate children with special needs (VIPs) and provide hope and practical assistance to VIP children of all ages and their families.

What Buddy Break tries to accomplish in providing a safe, enjoyable, and enriching environment for children with special needs is deeply personal to me because I have a younger brother on the autism spectrum. Though my parents did their best to give my brother the best resources while we were growing up, I only wished that something like Buddy Break existed nearly 25 years ago.

Maybe it’s a selfish thing, but one thing that I love about Buddy Break is that siblings are welcome, too. When we were growing up, my brother had a specific group that only allowed specific people, so I wasn’t allowed to join. Buddy Break includes all the children in the family, and to me, that is really amazing.

The other goal of Buddy Break is to give parents a break for a few hours so that they can do whatever they want to do with the confidence that they’re leaving their child in capable hands. Having a family member with special needs comes with some really tough challenges, and marriages often come under heavy strain.

As I’m finding out in my personal life, marriage is hard already. I am also finding out marriage with a child adds even more challenges. Watching my own parents buckle and sway in their marriage under the weight of my brother’s unique needs and challenges was really hard to see and experience. I often wonder what kind of impact Buddy Break would have had on our family if it had been available for us back in the day.

It is a difficult statistic, but it’s worth mentioning: More than 80% of couples with a child with special needs end up divorcing. I am so inspired and encouraged to see the strength of single parents, and it is such an honor and a privilege to support them any way I can.

When I heard that Chase Oaks Church Legacy Campus hosted Buddy Break once a month, I was eager to be a part of it. Before I became a Christian and stepped out in obedience to pursue full-time ministry, I was an autism therapist. My whole education centered around autism research and treatment, and I’ve missed that special time in my life.

So personally, it was great to get back into an environment I have missed and loved for so long. While I wished my own family had something like this many years ago, I love giving this opportunity to families now. As much as it has been fulfilling to be a part of it, what gives me life is that parents can take those few hours to recharge, reboot, or get things done knowing fully well that their kids are in good care.

Here’s my hope for Buddy Break this year: Many families are wait-listed because Buddy Break’s model is having one volunteer for one child. My prayer is that God would bring more volunteers to Buddy Break so that more families can come and benefit from this amazing resource.

For more information about volunteering or reserving a spot for your child at Buddy Break, contact our Buddy Break Team at 972.783.8800 or .