This year, the Buddy Program celebrates its 40th year anniversary of providing mentoring for children. What started as a small grassroots organization serving a handful of children in the upper valley has evolved into a broad-based mentoring organization that reaches over 1,000 youth annually through a variety of youth programs. To honor this history of community investment, the Buddy Program chose “Commitment” as its theme for 2013. Each month, there will be a different sub-topic highlighting the scope of that theme.
The word “commitment” can have a heavy connotation that can make people look for the nearest escape route. Often times, we are hesitant to commit ourselves to something that feels out of our comfort zone. I would like to reflect on the other side of commitment, that sheds light on the often overlooked positive elements. This eloquent quote by Goethe comes to mind:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
It was our founder Greg Anderson who dreamed of bringing a Big Brother/Big Sister program to the Roaring Fork Valley and who took the initiative to act. He saw a need for boys who did not have a father-figure in their lives to have a positive male influence in the form of a supportive mentor. He worked diligently to find a handful of volunteer “Big Buddies” to work with the boys he identified through his job at what is now known as the Aspen Counseling Center. This vision responded to a need in the community and has been supported by parents, teachers, schools, businesses and individuals alike over the past 40 years.
As we think about commitment and the things that we are committed to in our lives as adults, it can often seem as though we don’t have enough time to add one more thing to our already busy days. However, when we make a commitment to something greater than ourselves – to helping younger persons feel better about themselves and providing encouragement they may not otherwise experience – we begin to uncover a humble secret: happiness. What a wonderful way to develop a greater sense of joy and gratitude than by being a Big Buddy to a child?
Like our founder, we have a vision this year. Our community has identified and referred 36 children to our team who are in need of a mentor. Our goal is to eliminate their wait to be matched with a Big Buddy. Surmount any reluctance you may have and join in the mentoring movement so that every child in our community has a caring and consistent role model. We ask for a year commitment, but find on average that our Buddy Pairs stay together for 4.2 years.
“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Act now! Embrace this opportunity we present to you to commit to becoming a Big Buddy today!