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Building character gets focus

Aspen Times Staff Report

Putting forth the philosophy that building character in young people is a community responsibility, several Aspen organizations are inviting parents and others to take up that responsibility.

To that end, a speaker series dubbed Character Counts, will begin tonight with a presentation.

A spokesman for Character Counts will address how other communities have found a common language in forging a more ethical environment for both adults and young adults.

“Really it’s a journey,” said Dr. Gary Smit of Character Counts. “The community as a whole needs to step forward and say, `We’re in this together.’ “

According to Aspen High School Principal Kendall Evans, Character Counts is a way to create a “common core of ethics.”

“Obviously, since the 12 young men were charged with their crimes, there has been pressure to address what went wrong,” said Evans, referring to last summer’s crime spree by local youths. “And when we really started to discuss the issue with students, we found that for many, there was no line in their minds of, `This is something I will not do for any reason,’ ” Evans said.

“Unfortunately in our society, that line is constantly moving and pretty soon there is no line. It’s been obliterated,” Evans continued. “It’s time we, as a community, begin to find that common terminology.”

The speaker series is sponsored by the Aspen School District, the Aspen Education Foundation, the Aspen Youth Center, and the city of Aspen.

Tonight’s event will be held at the District Theater at the elementary school, starting at 6 p.m.


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