Buddy Program has positive impact | AspenTimes.com

Buddy Program has positive impact

Dear Editor:

A little more than two years ago I was paired up with my Little Buddy, Uriel, through the Buddy Program. Getting involved with an organization such as the Buddy Program was something I had thought about for a long time. Like many people, I have had various mentors of sorts throughout my life to whom I turned to for guidance, support or just to talk to.

I am very grateful that these people were there for me when I needed them. In thinking about the people who have helped me along the way, I realized that I wanted to be in a supporting role for someone else, which is what compelled me to become a Big Buddy. As a Big Buddy, my goal is to see that Uriel has fun, develops self-confidence and always knows he has someone to talk to. Our favorite activities are snowboarding (even though I’m a skier!), going to the ARC, bowling and going to the movies.

These activities are usually followed by milkshakes and mac and cheese at Boogie’s or ribs at the Hickory House. It has been really rewarding to watch Uriel grow up and to get to know his family. While there have been many great memories created throughout our two years as Buddies, there is a moment that stands out in my mind that I will never forget. It occurred during a perfect, sunny day of riding at Highlands.

I asked Uriel how he was feeling – whether he was too hot, too cold, hungry, etc. His only response was, “I feel free.” It floored me and made me smile ear to ear. Hearing an 11-year-old say something of that nature really struck a cord. It made me realize how a simple day of snowboarding, or any other activity for that matter, can impact someone else’s life in a truly positive way.

Another memorable moment occurred during a great powder day at Snowmass. While taking a break from the powder harvest, he randomly told me that he wants to go to college in Alaska because they have great snow and huge mountains. It was music to my ears! While I don’t know if he’ll end up in Alaska six years from now, hearing him contemplate his future in such a positive light and at such a young age was really special.

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Uriel has in turn taught me a great deal and constantly reminds me of what is truly important in life. I’m excited to be there for Uriel as he grows up and pursues his dreams. I like to think that one day he might want to become a Big Buddy when he’s all grown up and thinks back on all the fun times we’ve had together as Buddies.

To learn more about how to become a Big Buddy and invest in a child’s future, please call (970) 920-2130 or fill out an application online today!

Jeff Whisler

Aspen