Men in Mentoring

The Buddy Program partnered with local photographer Guadalupe Laiz, the creative force behind the FACES of ASPEN photographs for a photoshoot. 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!

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.


Jacob M. & Ryan Larkin

Matched since June 2013

Jacob is 13 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.


Abraham A. & Braulio Jerez

Matched since September 2014

Abraham is 17 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.




Javier C. & Rodney Hill

Matched since December 2010

Javier is 18 years old and graduated from Aspen High School in 2017. 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.

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