Basalt embraces compassion |

Basalt embraces compassion

Dear Editor:

What an amazing week in compassionate Basalt, Colorado!

On March 8, 2011, the mayor and Town Council of Basalt proclaimed our community to be an international Compassionate City – adopting the Charter for Compassion as the guiding principle for community life. We were just the second community in the world to do so. Now there are six confirmed cities with another 39 in-process including: Washington, D.C., Louisville, Dublin, Addis Ababa, Capetown and New Delhi in addition to the countries of Canada, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Over the last four months, an inter-cultural, intergenerational group of Basalt residents created the first “event” since we joined the global Campaign for Compassionate Cities. Neighbor to Vecino was held in Lion’s Park this past Saturday to help residents learn about the movement with speakers, entertainment and awards.

The planning committee included Mayor Leroy Duroux, Town Clerk Pam Schilling, Councilor Karin Teague, Town Planner Susan Philp, Town Manager Bill Kane and Chief of Police Roderick O’Connor, along with Adriana Torres, Karen Lee, Paula Martinez, Emily Fahey, Luisa Sanchez, Heather Smith, Irma Diaz, Deb Pattison, Beatriz Robles, Cole Sjoholm, Rosario Gomez, John Hoffman, Juana Linades, Janice Duroux, Graciela Martinez, Maggie Fitzpatrick, Marcia Guzman, Michael Hutton, Keila Olave and a number of middle and high school students.

Basalt Middle School teachers and the Kids for Compassion club entertained with skits. Paula Valenti and students performed and taught the audience how to Zumba dance. And comedy wizard John Goss brought members of his Glenwood Vaudeville Revue to delight everyone.

Adriana Torres coordinated with residents of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park to offer delicious agua frescas and the El Jebel City Market donated cookies. Adriana and Keila Olave translated to ensure the event was bilingual.

The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of the Compassionate Basalt Awards by Karen Lee: for Compassion Demonstrated Daily, RFTA bus driver Vicki Rogers; for Family Acting Compassionately, Shaun, Mackenzie, Laelia, and Quincy Gabbard with Hero the dog; for Compassion toward Strengthening Intercultural Relations, Adriana Torres; and for Youth Demonstrating Compassion, 13-year-old Antonio Gomez.

We thank all the media experts who publicized Neighbor to Vecino: Marci Krivonen, KAJX; Luke Nestler, KDNK; Gabe Chenoweth, KMTS; Samuel, KPVW; Sandra Glosser, Grassroots TV; Scott Condon, The Aspen Times; and Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News. Thank you to Tad Anderson and others who donated toward our publicity costs.

We also thank special guest Ari Cowan, co-director of the International Institute for Compassionate Cities, for his presentations to community leaders throughout the week. Thanks to Tim and Jacque Whitsitt, who opened their home to Ari during his visit. But we are especially proud of the four Basalt Middle School students who brought the Charter for Compassion to the town of Basalt: Lindsay Anderson, Stephanie Anglin, Chase Ellsperman and Eli Pettet.

To learn more about the Charter for Compassion movement, go to or or

E. Marie Gasau


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