It’s all about being a Buddy
The Buddies Program needs a couple dozen adults to spend a little time each week with a kid who needs a little attention and stability.
The Buddies Program, part of The Resource Center, has been in Eagle County since 1983. It pairs kids with adult mentors. The program is expanding to include prevention of drug and alcohol use among teenagers, said program director Rhonda Atencio.
“We’re trying to provide an opportunity for generous and caring adults to help meet these kids’ needs,” said Atencio. “Studies have shown that mentoring helps these kids make wise choices.”
A foundation that funds alcohol prevention training found that mentoring reduce the chances of drug and alcohol use in kids by 40 percent.
“It makes a huge difference,” said Atencio.
Kids are recommended by school counselors, Health and Human Services caseworkers and local law enforcement officers.
Right now, The Buddies Program has 40 mentor matches. But eight girls and nine boys remain on the waiting list.
“With summer break approaching, we need to get these youth involved in community activities. We need the help of role models,” said Atencio.
Mentors spend as little as three hours a week with their kids. The program provides training. You provide the time.
“Three hours a week is not a big time commitment for the amount of payback you get,” said Senior Buddy Joanne Dye, who’s been with the program for four years. “We fly kites and go snowboarding. We just do the things that are a normal part of life.”
The most common excuse for not getting involved is claiming they don’t have time. But Dye isn’t believing it. She was on her way to France to help run the Cannes Film Festival when she stopped to chat about the Buddies Program.
“My life is pretty crazy,” said Dye. “When people tell me they don’t have time to do this, I don’t buy it.”
Dye said she wanted to get involved with the Resource Center.
“I saw an ad in the paper and signed up,” said Dye. “When I started there were 25 matches. Now there are more than 35, but we still need more senior buddies.”
Saving the World
It doesn’t take long to save the world, when you go at it a small piece at a time.
“When you help a child today, you write the history of tomorrow,” said Atencio.
Dye is helping young Jason write both his history and his future. Dye and Jason have been together for three years and are already signed up for next year.
“Like anything else in this valley, you have to recognize that there are other needs besides conspicuous consumption and tourism,” said Dye.
But what you do isn’t as important as the example you set.
“You just need to spend a little time,” said Atencio. “Three hours per week makes a huge difference.”
Nicole Shanor was a junior buddy. Now she’s back in the program as a senior buddy and mentor.
“She felt like it was time to give something back,” said Atencio. “The entire idea behind volunteerism is that you get back more than you give.”
To become part of The Buddies Program, call Atencio at 949-7097, or e-mail at email@example.com and request an application.