We’re Open: The Buddy Program
In our continued effort to keep the local residents informed on which businesses remain open, The Aspen Times has started the “We’re Open” feature to profile local businesses working through the coronavirus crisis. We want to connect consumers with the work businesses are doing to stay open.
To be featured as a business profile through the month of June, email staff reporter Austin Colbert at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Business name: The Buddy Program
Address: 110 E. Hallam St., Suite 125 (Aspen) and 520 S. 3rd St, Unit 30 (Carbondale)
Phone number: 970-920-2130
Social media: @buddyprogramrfv (Facebook), @thebuddyprogram (Instagram)
Aspen Times: How have you gotten creative during this time? What have you done to keep your customers engaged?
The Buddy Program: When the pandemic shut down schools and our community in mid-March, The Buddy Program staff jumped into action in order to keep our Big and Little Buddies connecting with each other through virtual platforms for our four different programs:
• We placed orders for books, art supplies, Battleship games and more that Buddy Pairs could engage in through Facetime or Zoom. We heard from Buddy Pairs cooking together online or writing songs to share with each other.
• We also wanted to keep our high school Big Buddies connected to their Little Buddies who they normally would see after school on Wednesdays and encouraged letter writing that we facilitated getting from the Big Buddy to their Little Buddy.
• Our LEAD Program’s Outdoor Leadership classes continued at Rifle, Roaring Fork and Basalt High Schools through the schools’ online learning guidance and students were supported to spend time outside through fun activities like scavenger hunts, cook dinner for their families (we delivered the ingredients they needed) and do some map and compass challenges as well as given the chance to just connect with each other and our staff mentors.
• Additionally, our staff worked diligently to check in with each and every family we serve to ensure they understood all the resources available to them for emergency assistance; many times helping to navigate them through that process!
AT: What’s the most important thing the community can do to support you?
BP: We continue to have a need for Big Buddies to be caring companions to youth in our community! Please contact LauraS@buddyprogram.org to learn more about becoming a Big Buddy today! While we can’t gather together for our 34th annual Boogie’s Buddy Race on the Fouth of July, we are inviting individuals to register and run from wherever they are! Register today at http://www.buddyprogram.org. Finally, our live summer fundraiser, the Bash for the Buddies, has been canceled and we invite the community to support us through our online auction and weeklong celebration of the Ooh La La Bash Online July 4-July 10. There will be some unique, one-of-a-kind items and experiences, so don’t miss out on the bidding.
AT: Where can we find your most current offerings and updates?
BP: At http://www.buddyprogram.org.
AT: What has been the best customer experience or comment you’ve had since the crisis started?
BP: The perseverance and commitment of our volunteer Big Buddies is nothing short of inspiring and incredible. They were making a huge impact for youth in our community before the pandemic and continue to do so through showing up and being there. We are so grateful to them!
AT: Is there anything else you’d like to add regarding your business during the pandemic?
BP: We have now invited Buddy pairs to see each other again in person and are working on plans to get small groups of our LEAD students together for outside activities throughout the summer. We are recruiting Big Buddies and ready to match them with the over 30 youth in need on our waitlist.
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The funding mechanism for the Community Office of Resource Efficiency is becoming less stable as a result of the program’s success. Now, the nonprofit is looking for a new direction forward.