Buddies make better choices
VAIL On Tuesdays, 9-year-old Carlos and his buddy, Craig Cormack, do homework. They play pool. They eat dinner together.They talk about why it is that some people are called “mister” and some people aren’t. They talk about proper table manners. They talk about music – even across the gap of the generation or two that separates them. Carlos likes hip-hop. Cormack likes The Eagles.
“I told him The Eagles, and he goes, ‘Who?'” Cormack said.Tuesday is their day, but this was a Wednesday. The kids and their mentors from the Buddy Mentors program were celebrating at their holiday party at Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain.Carlos and Cormack started out at the tubing hill. Cormack was done after three runs, but the giant smile on Carlos’ face was enough to say he wanted to take a couple more.There are 50 buddy-mentor matches in the program. Children are referred to the program by their school or the county’s Health and Human Services Department.The children simply need a good role model to spend one-on-one time with for a few hours each week, said Narda Reigel, the program’s director.
Perhaps their parents work a lot and are not home much to spend time with their children. Perhaps there is a domestic-violence problem at home. Sometimes the children must help raise younger brothers and sisters .”It just lets them be a kid and be themselves for a while,” Reigel said.The program aims to allow the kids to make good choices and discover their potential, Reigel said.And there is demand for more adult buddies, Reigel said.”We’re in serious need of adult mentors,” she said.Cormack met Carlos at a summer camp this year that was run by the Resource Center, which also runs the Buddy Mentors program.
“To let him make decisions to help him realize his potential and what he wants to do,” he said.Tom Moorhead, a district judge who is on the advisory board for Buddy Mentors, said he’s seen the tangible benefits of mentor relationships.”Having a buddy can truly make a difference,” he said.Through the one-on-one relationship, kids can learn social skills that help them in other parts of their lives, Moorhead said.Holly Tranter of Vail just celebrated her three-year anniversary of mentoring Heidi, 10. They like to bake and shop together.”I love working with kids,” Tranter said. “I’m a teacher. I get so much enjoyment from doing the things that kids love.”Heidi’s reason that she likes hanging out with Tranter was simple. “That you get to get away from your house sometimes,” she said.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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