For 50 years, the Buddy Program has been serving youth in the Roaring Fork Valley community. The Buddy Program runs four mentoring programs primarily serving youth from Aspen to Carbondale, and thanks to a grant received in 2018, Rifle. These programs include one-on-one mentoring and group, experiential mentoring.
What started as a small, grassroots effort in 1973 to match adults with kids in mentoring relationships, has become one of the largest youth serving organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 1973, a therapist at the community mental health center recognized that many of his clients were single mothers. Having been a Big Brother in college, he started providing mentors for boys and girls in the community.
In 1991, the Buddy Program was incorporated as a 501(c)3 and in 1994 the organization expanded to include the communities of Basalt and El Jebel. In 2005, the organization started School-based Programming with adult volunteers and the Peer-to-Peer Program involving high school volunteers as mentors. In 2010, we incorporated our outdoor, experiential, group mentoring programs known as the LEAD (Leadership through Exploration Action and Discovery) Program. Also, in 2010 the Buddy Program started serving youth in Carbondale and in 2015, we moved our mid-valley office from Basalt to Carbondale to establish a more defined presence in that community.