Holiday cheer for new and old buddies as Buddy Program rings in holidays |

Holiday cheer for new and old buddies as Buddy Program rings in holidays

Buddy pairs decorated gingerbread houses at the 10th annual Gingerbread House Workshop.

The Buddy Program rang in the holiday spirit Sunday with their annual Gingerbread House Workshops in Aspen and Carbondale. Both new pairings and old gathered at the Third Street Center in Carbondale and The Little Nell in Aspen to eat candy, listen to holiday tunes and most importantly, craft gingerbread houses.

The participant were each given a box of candy to decorate their house, but that didn’t stop them from eating as many treats as they put on their creations.

This was the 10th annual Gingerbread House Workshop. Buddies from each of the four programs were invited to attend, creating a very crowded and lively scene at the workshop. Kids who are on the wait list for a mentor were also invited.

“We want to include as many kids from the programs as we can,” said Executive Director Lindsay Lofaro.

Angelie Niebla and her mentor, Candy Huffman, have been buddies for the past nine years and have attended the Gingerbread House Workshop every year. Ashley Guglielmo and her mentor, Hailey Barragan, who were paired up around the same time as Niebla and Huffman, have been attending for just as long. All the mentees at their table are seniors now at Basalt High School and were soaking in their last workshop together.

“We’re feeling pretty nostalgic,” said Huffman. “This is one of our last chances with the girls.”

Niebla and Huffman also said the workshop was fun because it is different from what they usually do, like going out to eat or just hanging out.

Kids from all four programs were invited to participate in the annual Gingerbread House Workshop.

These duos did not pick a theme for their houses, but did say their houses turn out nearly the same each year. They may have been the oldest pairs in the room, but they were having just as much fun chatting, building their houses, and eating the decorations as the younger pairs.

Niebla and Guglielmo said they will miss the workshop a lot next year, but may come back to volunteer.

Just getting started with the Buddy Program, Angelie Sanchez and her mentor, Karla Stukey, attended their first Gingerbread House Workshop. The buddies have been paired up for about a year, but this was their first chance to attend the workshop. They decided the theme of their house was Santa and the North Pole, and adorned the roof of their house with frosted cereal pieces. Stukey was even creating a pretzel chair for Santa to sit in.

The program also offered take-home kits available for purchase. These kits were for people outside of the program, and the profits went straight toward benefiting the Buddy Program. Development Coordinator Kathryn Sansone said they nearly sold out of the take-home kits this year.

Each of the 15 tables were named for one of the many sponsors of the Buddy Program. Additionally, all of the gingerbread houses were donated by Whole Foods and the candy by Mars Candy.

Lofaro said it took an “army of volunteers” to make the event happen. Not only did they have volunteers at the event helping out, but there were volunteers who put together each of the candy kits days in advance.