Buddy Program in Action!
We often use this space to tell you of what we’re doing and how important it is. Today we will illustrate the impact we have with the true-life story of one of our Little Buddies, Danny.
When Danny was in 6th grade he and his brother immigrated to the United States to live with his grandmother in the Roaring Fork Valley. They had been exposed to physical and emotional abuse in Mexico as well as severe trauma. In addition, Danny had hearing problems and both boys were in need of social and emotional support. The school counselor referred Danny to the Buddy Program as she recognized his need for a male role model in his life.
Even while on the wait list for a Big Buddy, we supported Danny. He participated in Dream Day Camp; our staff secured a Holiday Basket for his family through Christ Episcopal Church; he and his brother attended our monthly Super Buddies activities for boys on the wait list; we provided professional counseling for him and his brother to address the abuse and trauma issues; and Danny utilized our Empowerment Scholarships to obtain an ARC pass during summer breaks as he loves to swim. All BEFORE we found him a Big Buddy.
Danny’s English was limited and the Buddy Program was able to find the rare Spanish-speaking, male Big Buddy, John. Danny and John had an instant connection when they were matched in 2012. Danny was able to express himself in his native tongue and they quickly grew close. Since they have been matched, Danny and John have participated in numerous Buddy Program activities including fly fishing, a tour of the Glenwood Caverns, and going to the X-Games. The Pair also enjoys hiking, visiting the library, going to the ARC, and a passion for music. This past year, John took Danny to a concert of his favorite band in Denver.
Danny continues to participate in LEAD programs, attending Dream Day and Youth Camp for two years. He is a regular at the LEAD monthly programs and activities.
Today Danny is 14 and going in to his sophomore year. Despite his hearing disability, he is an accomplished guitarist and loves music. His talents were recognized by the director of the Rock and Roll Academy who directed the Buddy Band and Danny was offered a scholarship to attend the Academy for the rest of the summer. Every night around the campfire at Youth Camp this summer, you could find Danny, accompanied by the female campers, playing his guitar with a huge smile on his face! The Buddy Program staff and his Big Buddy John have watched him grow from a shy, quiet 7th grader, to a confident, well-liked high school student, well on his way to success!
It costs us about $2,500 per year to support a youth in our community program. I hope we can count on your support this giving season!