VIP Kids

Kids with special needs are our VIP kids! VIPs include kids with any physical, cognitive, medical, or hidden disability, chronic or life-threating illness or who are medically fragile.


Buddies are friends to VIPs. Volunteer Buddies must be at least 14 years of age and complete our Buddy Training 101 class and agree to a background check. No previous experience necessary!
Buddy Break keeps a one-to-one ratio of VIPs and Buddies. This means we can serve only as many VIP kids as we have Buddies! We have a waiting list of VIP families every session. Consider becoming a Buddy Buddy.
Buddy Break has many serving opportunities beyond being a one-on-one Buddy to a VIP. Setup & cleanup crews, greeters and general helpers along with many behind the scenes organizers of materials and supplies positions are open.

Talk with Karen Klaus about Buddy Training 101 sessions.

Why Buddy Break?

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 much needed FREE break from their overwhelming caregiving responsibilities.

  • One out of 10 kids under age 14 has some type of special need.
  • Mental health treatment for stress is two to three times higher for parents of children with special needs versus that reported by parents of children who are well.
  • Statistics show the divorce rate is 80% for couples who have children with a disability.
  • Families may experience extreme isolation, depression, loneliness, and fatigue.

Getting Started as a VIP Family or Buddy

VIP families and Buddies register online on Nathaniel’s Hope secure database. Click here to register your child or sign up to volunteer.

  1. Fill in the forms; be sure to choose First Church Crystal Lake as your Buddy Break location!
  2. Connect with one of our Buddy Break Leadership Team members to learn more about VIP Family Orientations and Buddy Training 101.
  3. Start enjoying Buddy Break!

First Church is offering Buddy Break on Saturdays, April 21, May 19 and June 23 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Buddies arrive at 9:00 a.m.) We will not have Buddy Break days in July and August, but will resume again in September.

Buddy Break Leadership Team: Susan Perkins, Jean Natoli, Jordan Natoli, Jerry Rankin, Julie Deka, Joyce Staley, Kelsey Klaus and Karen Klaus