Men in Mentoring

Last month, the Buddy Program partnered with local photographer Guadalupe Laiz, the creative force behind the FACES of ASPEN photographs. Laiz’s talent, coupled with the palpable bond between the male Buddy Pairs she photographed, are evident when viewing these special images. The result is the Men in Mentoring photo project that will be on display throughout the Roaring Fork Valley at galleries, cafes and businesses this year.

To accompany the images, staff asked the Big and Little Buddies an array of mentoring-related questions. Scroll beyond the photos to see their interview questions and answers. Make sure to keep an eye out for this rotating photo exhibit at a location near you. Learn more at or 970-920-2130.





(From top to bottom, left to right)

Jacob M. & Ryan Larkin

Matched since June 2013

Jacob is 10 years old, attends Carbondale Middle School, and enjoys mountain biking and skateboarding. Ryan is the owner of Larkin Construction in Carbondale.

They love attending Buddy Program-sponsored activities, such as Ski Day, and building lemonade stands in Ryan’s woodworking shop for Lemonade Day.

How do you define commitment?

Ryan: Being there when things get tough. It is easy to be around when things are easy.

What is the best part of being in the Buddy Program?

Jacob: The fact that I get to hang out with someone like Ryan who is nice and older instead of just spending time with my friends.

Who shaped your life?

Ryan: My family – all 6 of my brothers and sisters as well as my parents who have been married for over 50 years.


Bodi F. & Will Rutledge

Matched since March 2012

Bodi is 10 and attends Aspen Elementary School. Will works in HOA management and moonlights as a raft guide. He is originally from Mississippi and the second-oldest of 8 brothers.

These two like to ski, bike, skateboard and attend Buddy Program activities together.

What do you like most about your Big Buddy?

Bodi: He is social and he’s trying to teach me some stuff.

Who mentored you?

Will: My grandparents.

What do you like to do together?

Bodi: We like to do almost everything. Skiing, going out to eat…anything we can fit in.

What do you get out of being a mentor?

Will: Satisfaction of contributing to someone in need and the future of this town.


Larz W. & David Houggy

Matched since October 2013

Larz is 11 and attends Cornerstone Classical School. David is the Executive Director at the Buddy Program and a Board Member of the Aspen Science Center.

David and Larz were matched in the School based program before transitioning to the Community program in June 2014.

What do you like to do together?

Larz: Play football and make pizza.

Why do boys need male role models?

David: Boys have lots of energy, but need someone to help them channel that into productive uses. I had a lot of the same interests as my Little Buddy when I was a boy. I think it is hard for a female role model to connect to all of that.


Edgar O. & Jared Goulet

Matched since July 2013

Edgar is 14 years old and attends Aspen Middle School. He works at Boogie’s Diner. Jared is the owner of an art gallery in Aspen and serves on the Buddy Program’s Leadership Development Board.

They like to fly drones, snowboard and hang out at Jared’s gallery. Edgar helps Jared unpack boxes and hang new art.

What do you like about your Big Buddy?

Edgar: Everything. He is fun, nice and chill to be around.

How have you grown through the experience of being a mentor?

Jared: Being a part of a family…growing together.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Edgar: Awesome.


Abraham A. & Braulio Jerez

Matched since September 2014

Abraham is 14 years old and attends Aspen High School. He enjoys reading and conversing about interesting topics. Braulio and a Police Officer in Aspen, originally from Queens, NY. He is an avid cyclist and completed the Tough Mudder contest in 2014.

They like to watch many movies and enjoy critiquing them. They are very active and enjoy hiking, biking and skiing. They also train together to develop their Parkour abilities.

What is the best part of being in the Buddy Program?

Abraham: “My Buddy answers any questions that I have about the future, like ‘how do you get things you want?’ and, ‘how do you pay taxes?'”

What is it important to invest in the next generation?

Braulio: Because I wish someone had invested in me.


Jesus M. & Carlos Perez

Matched since June 2013

Jesus is 11 years old and attends Aspen Middle School. He was awarded an Empowerment Scholarship from the Buddy Program so that he could join a baseball team. Carlos is an educator at the Early Learning Center at the Yellow Brick School in Aspen, a transplant from Venezuela.

Their favorite activities include skiing and playing soccer!

With all of the other volunteer opportunities in the valley, why volunteer with the Buddy Program?

Carlos: This is by far the most fun and gratifying one!

What is the best part of being in the Buddy Program?

Jesus: You get to spend time with some older people that are really nice.

How was the transition to becoming a Big Buddy?

Carlos: Easy. I’ve had such great help and assistance from the staff and my Case Manager.


Javier C. & Rodney Hill

Matched since December 2010

Javier is 15 years old and attends Aspen High School. He has his driver’s permit, putting him in the driver’s seat during Buddy outings. Originally from So-Cal, Rodney is a long-time Aspen local who works at a ranch in Woody Creek and makes pies at NY Pizza.

 They like to go skiing and bowling together.

What do you like best about your Big Buddy?

Javier: That he is chill and fun.

With all of the other volunteer opportunities in the valley, why volunteer with the Buddy Program?

Rodney: Not only to positively influence someone but to be influenced as well.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Javier: A mechanic.