50 Years of inspiring and empowering youth
Fifteen schools, 50 years and 500 youth served annually. Those impressive numbers represent the tenure and the work of the Buddy Program, established in 1973 in Aspen. With a mission to empower youth through mentoring experiences to help them achieve their full potential, the organization has decades of demonstrated success in pairing adult “Buddies” with their youth proteges. And in 2023, the nonprofit expanded to Glenwood Springs and now serves youth from Aspen to Glenwood through one-on-one mentoring programs, and from Aspen to Rifle with their outdoor leadership programs.
“The Buddy Program creates impactful, meaningful and lasting relationships,” says executive director Lindsay Lofaro. With four unique programs designed to provide the guidance and support needed to make that a reality, their dedicated staff and mentors work with youth to help them develop the skills, confidence and self-esteem they need to succeed in school, career and life.
As for its adult mentors, Sarah Armstrong expresses sentiments about her Little Buddy of seven years that are widely shared among volunteers.
“Being a Big Buddy allows me to be the best version of myself, and there is nothing more rewarding. Every person on the planet can benefit from a caring, stable, unbiased adult in their life —especially in their formative years,” says Sarah. “I’ll forever cherish the memories Alondra and I have made. Mentoring is not about being the perfect person, it’s about being present, and positive. It’s only a fraction of your time and makes such a difference in a mentee’s life. Time is the best gift you can give someone.”
Alpine Bank has been a long-time supporter of the Buddy Program. “Alpine’s support goes back at least 20 years, with donations totaling over $150,000 in that time,” says Lindsay. “Not only that, but Alpine has made a commitment of $75,000 over the next five years to support our expansion into Glenwood Springs.”
Lindsay reports that ongoing, generous support has been critical to the success of the Buddy Program, which offers its services at no cost, supporting Buddy Pair relationships that last around four years on average.
“We’re honored to celebrate our 50th anniversary with Alpine Bank, as they too, are celebrating a 50- year milestone,” says Lindsay. “We look forward to engaging new volunteers, youth, families and donors as we continue this important work!”
Learn more about the annual ride at buddyprogram.org
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