Kudos and Kindness | AspenTimes.com

Kudos and Kindness

Let's support the Aspen Science Center

Aspen is full of meaningful organizations doing fantastic things, but I want to express my appreciation for one that is in need of support — the Aspen Science Center. My story starts with my 9-year-old son. Like most young boys, he's overly enthusiastic, filled with energy, slightly sassy, never quiet and always curious. He loves science in school and counts the days between visits from Mr. G (the science guy).

But the Aspen Science Center — an out-of-the-classroom nonprofit that puts on science events and programs — has enhanced his life. We rarely miss a Wednesday-evening Physics for Kids BBQ in the summer, he spent a full eight hours at last summer's Science Street Fair, and he demonstrated air pressure during the Aspen Science Center's Holiday Science Festival. The Aspen Science Center is hoping to open a science museum and lab in town where kids will be able to do science workshops during the summer and the holidays. They have ideas that will capture children and adults alike, and a facility like this would be fantastic for field trips, family time and possibly even birthday parties! Every time I see kids doing science, they are so involved, excited and wanting more.

The second part of my story is about me. I'm a preschool teacher at Wildwood, where we've had the Aspen Science Center come up to teach the kids a little science once a month. It's been fabulous! I'm so touched by this organization, the impact it's had on my son and the potential for science as a tool to understand our world and prepare for our future that my son and I have donated $200 to the Aspen Science Center (which is a huge chunk of my paycheck!). Please join me in supporting the Aspen Science Center. You can donate at http://www.aspensciencecenter.org or P.O. Box 4669, Aspen, CO 81612.

This is an organization we should want in our valley — it's full of brilliant physicists, creative discovery, intelligent entertainment, fascinating programs and potential for a future of innovation.

Leslee Francis

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Being a Buddy will change your life

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Look no further. The answer is simple and offers the ultimate win-win scenario for all parties involved. Lives are changed, communities are strengthened and lifelong friendships are created.

The answer is to become a mentor in the Buddy Program! Eleven years ago I made the decision to do so and took a leap of faith in the face of my own personal doubts about my ability to make a difference. Would I have the time? Would I be able to establish a relationship with a total stranger? Would it cost me money I didn't have?

Looking back at what has transpired in the 11 years since I nervously met my then-7-year-old Buddy, I am now filled with joy at the decision I made to follow my instincts to get involved with this incredible program. I laugh at all the anxieties and trepidations I had, as they proved to be mere figments of my imagination.

I've had the privilege of witnessing the blossoming and growth of someone who is now a fine young man readying himself to be the first ever in his family to attend college and then conquer the world! I've experienced the joy of seeing a future that we designed together come to fruition and exceed all of our expectations. We shared many "firsts" together: the first movie, the first rock-climbing/ropes-course experience, the first snowboarding lesson, the first camping experience — the list is endless!

I have witnessed the strength and resilience of the human spirit when we faced issues that would make most of us buckle at the knees. I have discovered that you can learn as much from a young child as they can learn from you. But the best thing of all is that I met a fine young boy who has grown into an exemplary young man whom I'm proud to call my friend. He has been the "Big Buddy" to my own children and has shown them firsthand the benefits of hard work and determination as well as the importance of not being afraid to believe in oneself and dare to dream big!

There is nothing I regret about getting involved with the Buddy Program except for not joining earlier! I have full confidence that my Buddy and I will be involved in each other's lives for the rest of them, and I urge anyone who is considering getting involved to do so now. There is a great kid out there just waiting to meet you, who I promise will change your life in wonderful ways you now cannot fathom!

All you need to do is call 970-920-2130 or email heather@buddyprogram.org to start the application process! Visit http://www.buddyprogram.org for more information.

Peter Dolan

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Generosity pours in for Aspen Science Center

For those of you who don't know, Mark Campisi, owner of Domino's Pizza, could be one of the most generous men in this entire town. When asked to donate pizza to worthy events, he always tries to be giving and helpful, and I can't thank him enough for helping me out during Aspen Science Center's Holiday Festival last month.

Mark and his beautiful wife, Tori, are longtime locals who deserve endless admiration and appreciation.

Others I want to thank (from the bottom of my heart) for their help at the festival are Aspen Middle School teachers Georgina Levey, Peter and Caroline Hanson and the staff of Aspen Middle School for letting us go science crazy in the middle school cafeteria.

Our volunteers included Ashley Lantes (Aspen Youth Center), Shannon Francis, Nathan Hanson, Mirjam Roser, Margaret Simmons, Mike Stranahan and a bevy of Aspen High School students — my thanks to you all.

The Aspen Science Center wants to keep hosting these fun science evenings — let me know if you want to help.

Jackie Francis

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