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Buddy Program Awards over $40,000 in Continuing Education Scholarships

BHS schol night

Pictured from Left to Right are Basalt High School continuing education award recipients: Jamie B, Makenzie H., Daniella C., Blanca L., Michelle L., Nathaly R., Stina P., Becca M., and Lindsay Lofaro Photo credit: Kara Williams

Aspen, CO – The Buddy Program awarded 38 scholarships for higher education to well-deserving high school students from Aspen to Carbondale, CO.

The Buddy Program’s mission is to empower youth
through mentoring experiences in order to achieve their full potential.

“Our donors support our continuing education scholarship fund so that we can reward youth who have been involved as high school Big Buddies, Little Buddies or with our LEAD Programs. It is these donors who make these awards happen. Additionally, our scholarship committee ensures that our dollars are invested in youth who have made a difference in our own community and will continue to make a difference throughout their lives” states David Houggy, Executive Director of the Buddy Program.

This year, the Buddy Program awarded $44,000 to 38 high school seniors who have volunteered as Big Buddies through the Peer-to-Peer program, been involved as a Little Buddy or as a LEAD youth participant. Eighteen of these individuals are the first generation in their family to attend college.  Since 2012, the Buddy Program has awarded $169,754 in continuing education scholarships to 113 youth, 47 of whom have been first generation to attend college.

For over 40 years, the Buddy Program has been serving youth in the Roaring Fork Valley community.  The Buddy Program runs five programs throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, including one-on-one mentoring, group/experiential mentoring, and financial literacy education.  In addition to mentoring experiences, the organization provides professional case management, extracurricular activity scholarships, continuing education scholarships, therapeutic counseling and other benefits. Pairs in our Community Program stay together for 4 years, compared to the national average of 23 months. Program evaluations demonstrate that the Buddy Program has helped our Little Buddies in areas of self-esteem, decision making, academics and relationships with friends and family. The Buddy Program worked with over 1,000 youth and their families in 2014, and continues to grow to meet the large need in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Buddy Program is a registered 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


Men in Mentoring Photo Project

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The Buddy Program collaborated with local photographer Guadalupe Laiz to create the first-ever Men in Mentoring Photo Project.  The result?  Captivating photographs that capture 7 of our male Buddy Pairs.  The photos, along with questions answered by each of the Buddy Pairs, will be on display throughout the valley at coffee shops and galleries this year.

In most formalized mentoring organizations, the majority of mentors are female while the majority of youth waiting to be matched are male; this is also true for the Buddy Program.  However, our male matches prove to be some of the strongest pairs and more often than not, have a big impact on both the Big and Little Buddy’s life. Guadalupe Laiz’ talents, coupled with the palpable bond of her subjects, are evident when viewing these special images.

Take the time to read the text that accompanies the photos.  We at the Buddy Program were moved by the responses of the Big and Little Buddies particularly by the grit, honesty, vulnerability and strength on display by the children and adults alike.  We invite the community to take a new look at the Buddy Program.  With a fresh set of eyes, take a glimpse into the heart and soul of this program.  And – if you feel so moved – consider taking the risk to form such a bond yourself!


Love Your Community Day 2015!

group cropLove Your Community Day 2015 was a huge success with over 15 Little Buddies, their parents, siblings, friends, and rock star Big Buddies coming out to Roaring Fork Conservancy’s 17th annual Frying Pan River clean-up day Saturday, April 25th!  Click for pics.

There was no denying that the cold April morning made it difficult to get out of bed for this.  In the end, not a single person regretted it.  After a delicious hot breakfast and doughnuts provided by RFC and the Basalt Lions Club, we set out to the river banks to work.  There was a shocking amount of garbage in and around both the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers; kids and adults alike were astounded by the need for this work and proud of their contribution to the health of these vital natural resources.  THANK YOU to everyone who participated and congratulations on working as volunteers for your community!  And THANK YOU to Roaring Fork Conservancy for inviting us to participate in this great event!

If you were not able to come to the Frying Pan River clean-up day, or if you are inspired to continue your work as a volunteer, please remember to check our website for other places that need your help!  www.buddyprogram.org


Community Dinner Explores Impact of Marijuana on Developing Adolescent Brains

Nelson speakingAbout 25 community members joined the Buddy Program at the home of John and Jessica Fullerton on October 21st for dinner and a discussion of the potential impact of marijuana legalization on our community. Dr. Alan Nelson, Board Certified Psychiatrist who works with teens and adults in the area of addiction medicine, spoke about the science behind addiction and marijuana’s impacts.  A panel of Buddy Program Case Managers and Big Buddy’s then spoke on how specifically they address issues like this with Little Buddies, to help make sure they are positioned to make smart, healthy decisions.  Click the links below for more information.

Dr. Nelson has offices in Carbondale and Aspen, and can be reached at 970-963-1588

Marijuana’s Effects on the Brain

Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use

Cannabis Revisited


Board Member Diane Anderson and Big Buddy Isabel Wolfer awarded Pitkin County Cares Awards!

Diane Anderson Isabel WolferTwo people associated with the Buddy Program were honored today with Pitkin County Cares Awards.

We are extremely proud that Buddy Program Board Member Diane Anderson has won the 2014 Pitkin County Cares Award for the Children/Youth category! Diane has served on the Buddy Program Board of Directors since 2004, and has been the Chair of the Development Committee for many of those years.  She is an unwavering pillar of support for the board and the organization, and a personal counselor to many of the staff.  This award is very well deserved, and we are very lucky to be able to work with Diane in so many ways!  You can view the video of the reading of her proclamation here.

Also honored was Isabel Wolfer, who won in the Rising Star category. Isabel is a Big Buddy in our Peer-to-Peer program at Aspen High School.  She was recognized for her work with the Buddy Program and with Pathfinders.  Congratulations Isabel!


Wait List Little Buddies

Brothers Abraham and Adrian T. have each been waiting for a Big Buddy for 2 years. Watch their video below to learn more about them and call us today if you are interested in making a difference in their lives through mentoring!

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Buddy Program Awards Over $38,000 in Continuing Education Scholarships!

This year the Buddy Program awarded $38,600 to 34 high school seniors who have been Peer to Peer Big Buddies, Little Buddies or LEAD participants. Seven of these individuals are the first generation in their families to attend college. Scholarship amounts range from $250 to $4000. Since 2012 the Buddy Program has awarded $125,100 in continuing education scholarships to 65 youth, 22 of whom have been first generation in their families to attend college.

Many thanks to Ali and Lewis Sanders and Debbie and Richard Jelinek for their generous support of the 2013 Buddy Program’s Scholarship Fund. (Pictured: Sole Lowe, Director of Community Programs, with scholarship recipient Natalie)


Experiential Program Has a New Name

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Outdoor Leadership Participants from Roaring Fork High School take in the view

We are thrilled to announce a new name for our Experiential Group Mentoring Program: LEAD (Leadership through Exploration, Action, and Discovery).  Our LEAD group mentoring programs help at-risk teens develop life skills while exploring hands-on activities alongside peers and caring adults. LEAD includes Moab Youth Camp, D.R.E.A.M. Day Camp, Outdoor Leadership at Roaring Fork High school and Carbondale Middle School, and a variety of monthly activities.  Click here to learn more about L.E.A.D. Many thanks to Nathan and Karen Sandler, Laura and Lance Welch, The John Denver Aspenglow Fund, the Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation, Aspen Rotary Club, and the Betty Jane Schuss Charitable Fund for their generous support of LEAD.

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