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Aspen Valley Medical Foundation teaches kids the gift of giving

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” A local nonprofit organization, which depends heavily on contributions from private individuals, will be reaching out to a new generation of potential donors this week.

Children ages 5 to 10 years old have been invited to an event sponsored by the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation on Wednesday afternoon, which is intended to “introduce many wonderful aspects of giving, charity and philanthropy,” according to a prepared statement from the foundation. The organization is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.

The program, “Continuing Philanthropy for Future Generations,” will feature two presentations. One will be by Dr. Jane Jenkins, local master storyteller, and the other will be by members of the Young Philanthropists of Aspen, a project also sponsored by the foundation.



The event will take place at 4 p.m. March 12 at the Aspen Valley Hospital’s Oden Conference Center. Age-appropriate refreshments will be provided, and the event is free and open to the public.

Directed by Kris Marsh, the foundation distributes money throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to a wide range of organizations, but its chief single beneficiary traditionally has been Aspen Valley Hospital. According to federal tax documents, the foundation listed its assets as approximately $11.5 million at the end of 2006 ” the last year for which figures are available.




The philanthropy program begins with a presentation by Jenkins of a story by Oscar Wilde, “The Happy Prince”, which “teaches a lesson of compassion, love and giving,” according to the foundation.

Jenkins, who holds a doctorate in education, is the author of “The Little Fir Tree,” a story written for children with special needs, She has traveled internationally and has lectured professionally on the value of storytelling in the teaching of reading.

The second part of the program will be a presentation by the Young Philanthropists, a group of local teens who, in 2005, were inspired by a service trip to New York City to help the homeless and created the organization as a way to do community service in their home town.

The presentation will be drawn from the group’s curriculum, developed for a class at Aspen Country Day School ” called “The Giving Book,” which contains exercises designed to show kids what the act of giving can mean to an individual’s life.

“It’s getting kids into the idea of how they can feel good by helping others,” Marsh said.

“We want kids to show up, especially,” Marsh said of the event, but parents and anyone else is welcome, she added.

jcolson@aspentimes.com