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Connecting with a Buddy

Throughout CCY’s history, giving back and supporting our community has been an essential component of our firm’s vision. It also aligns with the beliefs of our design team and staff, who actively pursue a wide variety of charitable acts, supporting organizations focused on the environment, the arts, education, and community-building.

CCY is a strong proponent and active member of The Buddy Program, a Colorado-based organization that focuses on empowering youth through mentoring experiences to achieve their full potential. For more than 50 years, The Buddy Program has connected countless mentors and mentees, resulting in lifelong friendships that positively impact both participants in long-lasting, meaningful ways. Centered around kindness, connection, discovery, empowerment, and inclusion, the Buddy Program has made a name for itself as a venerable establishment for forming genuine, exceptionally meaningful connections between people.

We spoke with Sean O’Bryant, who has been an active mentor and volunteer of the Buddy Program to hear more about this organization and the impact it has had on his life.

What is your involvement with the Buddy Program and what made you interested in participating in the BP?

I have had a buddy in the program since 2018. He and I meet once a week at his school for lunch. Historically we’d play games and entertain one another in the school library while eating lunch. As he has gotten older, we now generally walk (with my dog - Emerson) to a local place to eat and chat about whatever is going on in his world… generally math / literature, sports, or family.

“Connecting with my buddy has been a great way for me to step outside of my normal architecture bubble.”

— Sean O'Bryant

What has this experience taught/provided you and/or what are some of your fondest memories/experiences with your buddy, the program and being a mentor?

The program is fantastic! The people who organize and run the whole operation are phenomenal and deserve a lot of praise. Every step has been seamless and very positive. Beyond the priority of mentoring and encouraging him in his daily life… connecting with my buddy has been a great way for me to step outside of my normal architecture bubble. A more recent favorite experience has been learning that he joined the wrestling team and sharing my own experiences

What role does community engagement play in your process/practice as a designer?

Maintaining a tangible connection to community is huge for me, whatever form that might take. The value of that connection is critical to the design process by way of better understanding and grounding ourselves within the cultural context in which we design and build.

Do you have any advice for someone who might be unsure of or intimidated to do this kind of volunteer work?

In my experience, this type of small “giving back” has proved to be profoundly serving to one’s personal growth. In most cases it is low sacrifice for you, and high reward for all involved… just go for it!

What drew you to this program when you first started?

The Buddy Program is full of great people who all share a mission to help empower kids in the community through mentorship. When I was first exposed to the program through a friend, I had no experience with this type of volunteer work… my first impression was that a little volunteer effort goes a long way.



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