Kudos & Kindness (Skiers bring out Aspen’s best; Big Buddies for all)

Proud to be a Skier

The 2022 Aspen Skiers basketball team and their amazing season has incredibly inspiring. Without even knowing it, they are bringing the word “community” back to the town of Aspen. You can’t go to a game without seeing everyone you know! The students have been amazing, too! The unfortunate passing of the mother of one of Aspen’s star players led to an outpouring of love from the student body by wearing the number “3” to honor the young man and his mother. (How were they able to do that so fast!?).

This season has reminded me of how proud I am to be an Aspen Skier, and how fortunate my kids and grand kids are to be Aspen Skiers!

Rick Ryan


Class of 1984


Big Buddies for all

A transplant from Southern California, I have lived in this valley for 17-plus years and raised three kids that have all graduated from Basalt schools. As a Mexican American bilingual/bicultural professional in this community, I have witnessed firsthand the tremendous value and growth my Latinx community has provided for the Roaring Fork Valley, yet, I still see so much room for growth and opportunity for empowering our community, especially our Latinx youth.

These days I have found an opportunity to serve my Latinx community as a bilingual case manager for Buddy Program, a mentoring set of programs that serves youth from Aspen through Carbondale where approximately half of our participants are of Hispanic or Latinx heritage. Over the years I have experienced the value of these programs through my own children’s participation and now as part of the case management team. In my role with the Buddy Program, I interview future “Little Buddies” (mentees) and pose the following question: “What kind of person do you want your mentor to be?” On many occasions the answer to this question has been “Someone that looks like me” or “Someone that is like me.”

Unfortunately for about half of our participants this request will not likely be fulfilled as they envision it, because even though a great number of our youth participants are Latino/a, the number of Big Buddies or adult volunteers do not reflect these numbers.

I understand that we are all very busy attempting to make a life for ourselves and our loved ones in this beautiful but often challenging community. I also see how often my Latinx community comes together to support and enrich this valley in many positive ways. Buddy Program provides opportunities to volunteer as mentors or “Big Buddies” for our youth that are eager to be paired with a mentor that shares their heritage and values. I have also heard from current mentors of all backgrounds about the value and privilege it has been for them to get to know and learn from these awesome youth participants.

Sylvia Castorena