Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (June 11, 2017)
Aspen’s children show community pride
I am just coming off a two-week whirlwind streak of celebrations! You see, I have one family member who graduated from Aspen High School and another one moving from Aspen Middle School to the high school. This is called eighth-grade continuation. I have gone to parties, brunches, awards and scholarship ceremonies and it feels like I have seen everyone who lives in this town. I have eaten incredible food and worn every dress I own!
I am exhausted but, oh, so happy. Because, the last two weeks once again confirm what I have know my whole life: Aspen knows how to celebrate their children, because they love them with all their heart.
Kindergarten teacher, Aspen Elementary School
We would like to express our deep and sincere gratitude to the many, many people who helped care for, or spent time with our mother, Margaret Pearce, over the past few years, and to those who have earnestly expressed their condolences to us following her passing May 7.
We would especially like to thank the staff of Aspen Valley Hospital and HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley, Nicholas Vesey from the Aspen Chapel, and Father Hilton from St. Mary Catholic Church for their exceptional care, kindness and compassion for our mother and for us during a very difficult time.
We also would like to thank Margaret’s doctors and their staff (Dr. Schiller and Dr. Gerson), without whom she would not have had the spirited quality of life she was able to enjoy over the years.
Her quality of life also was greatly enhanced by the many people who visited Margaret and brought her meals, including Meals on Wheels, Allison Daily and Pathfinders’ Angels (a big thank you also goes out to Liz Means, who got this started for us), and a multitude of gracious friends and neighbors.
Finally, we would like to thank all of you in the community who helped with her funeral and memorial service, including Wendy and her staff at Mountain Flowers of Aspen, and Joan Tidwell, for the beautiful bouquets — we will never forget your kindness and generosity.
We apologize, in advance, if we have left anyone out — Margaret’s life was tenderly touched by so many.
Bernie and Rich Pearce
Who is serving whom?
My first experience in service started in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had the opportunity to mentor a teenager who lived across the river in the low-income neighborhood of Covington, Kentucky. We spent Saturdays together doing what teenage girls do — going to movies, the zoo, shopping. We came from very different cultures but learned about each other. I don’t know exactly what my mentee took away from this friendship, but I know what I learned at that formative age: empathy.
Fast forward 40-plus years. I find myself in a similar situation, spending an hour a week with someone I never would have known, were it not for English In Action. After a busy day of work I sit down at Carmen’s kitchen table in the Basalt trailer park. We share our week’s activities and upcoming plans in English. Six months ago, Carmen and I were matched as a mentor/student pair. Now we are friends and neighbors. Six months ago Carmen spoke only a very basic level of English. Now she has the confidence to use her English skills and she speaks at a much higher level. Her friends at work comment on her progress and are envious of her proficiency.
It takes me only five minutes to ride my bike to Carmen’s home. Yet I never would have met her had I not become a tutor with English In Action. Sadly, there are too few opportunities to form cross-cultural relationships in our society. I would argue that the empathy that is generated through “serving” others will make you stop and ask “Who’s serving whom?”
English In Action has a wait list of more than 100 students eager to be matched with a tutor. That means there are at least 100 opportunities for English speakers in our community to serve and be served, to give an hour a week and receive one of the greatest gifts in life … empathy.
Co-chair, board of trustees, English In Action (EnglishInAction.org)
AVSC bike ride a success
Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club kicked off our summer programming June 3 with the Community Pedaleando, a bike ride from Willits Town Center to Rock Bottom Ranch and back. We had a fun ride on the Rio Grande Trail, and thanks to Basalt Bike and Ski, Giant Bicycles and Hub of Aspen, anyone who wanted to ride with us could, as we provided bikes and helmets to those in need.
In our eighth summer of mountain bike programs, we are offering a new, free beginner clinic in addition to more advanced programs. Our mission is for all children in the Roaring Fork Valley to develop as athletes and people through sports. We’re excited to take this next step with our bike programs for athlete development.
A special thank you goes out to our Community Pedaleando partners: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen City of Wellbeing, Aspen Community Foundation, Aspen Cycling Club, Aspen Skiing Co., Aspen Valley Hospital, Basalt Bike and Ski, Basalt Fire and Rural District, Basalt Police Department, CycleBar, Giant Bicycles, Hotel Jerome, Hub of Aspen, Pitkin Open Space and Trails, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Roaring Fork Cycling, Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, The Little Nell, town of Basalt, town of Carbondale, Valley Settlement, WE-cycle and Willits Town Center. Thank you for your commitment to getting the children of the Roaring Fork Valley into the mountains, whether on bikes or skis!
Executive director, AVSC
Talking trash and crushing it, too
Thanks to our awesome volunteers and sponsors, our second annual Trash Crush in partnership with Colorado Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program was a lot of fun and a great success.
We literally crushed it, with 14 volunteers filling up 15 oversized bags of trash from 10 miles of four local roadways in just over 2 hours. In addition to cleaning up Highway 82 east of town to the winter gate, we had enough volunteers to clean up the first few miles from the roundabout up Castle Creek Road, Maroon Creek Road and down to the golf course.
It was alarming to witness the type and amount of litter along all the roadways as we removed it. One can’t help but wonder how it got there. It comes down to carelessness or recklessness. It’s like a disease that can take over Mother Earth like a cancer. The good news is that we can all be part of the cure through education and effort.
I’d like to thank our environmentally minded volunteers, who not only had the chance to nurture the very nature we moved here to enjoy, but also the opportunity to learn more about the problem of littering our environment and working on solutions like trying to prevent it to begin with through education.
We also raised awareness about how easy it is to pick up litter. The folks who litter do not have ownership of our lands, as they don’t respect them. We have ownership when we care for our pristine backyard.
We’d like to acknowledge and thank our amazing Trash Crush volunteers Tony Battaglia, Peter Louras, Karin Teague, Denise Lock, Catherine Cussaguet, Karen Ryman, Amanda Rae, Peter Looram, Catherine Hagen, Cherie Grinnell and Sally Bernard for their caring, time, effort and spreading of a valuable message. We’d like to also thank Samantha Johnston and her staff at The Aspen Times, and Wendy Mitchell and her staff at Meat & Cheese Restaurant for sponsoring our event, including helping spread the word and hosting a delicious healthy lunch to follow. We’d like to thank Cathy Hall and Pitkin County Landfill for donating their state of the art reusable beverage containers for our volunteers.
In just a few hours, we were able to make a positive difference. Locals and visitors who appreciate our pristine area will now enjoy it more. With just a little effort, we were rewarded in big ways. We’ll keep the community in the loop for our next Trash Crush event. Even if we all just picked up just one piece of litter each day, it would make a big difference. Try it. It’s fun and addictive!
Erik Skarvan and Todd Shaver
Co-organizers, second annual Trash Crush, Aspen
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