| December 1, 2009 | Lifestyle
You may have spied Jane Wells around town, most likely at an event for the Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Aspen Institute, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet or Jazz Aspen Snowmass. Perhaps lesser known is that this soft-spoken woman not only supports our local nonprofits but also pursues philanthropy on a global scale.
Through her work as a freelance writer, Wells became aware of the barbarity and genocide unfolding in Darfur in the Sudan. As her interest grew she traveled to Darfur to better understand what was really occurring in the region. That initial trip has been followed by many more. “After seeing and hearing about the genocide firsthand,” she says, “it became of utmost priority that I do something to increase awareness of this horror.”
She produced a feature-film documentary on the subject, The Devil Came on Horseback, which chronicles the genocide from the perspective of an African Union Observer stationed in Darfur. The film struck a cord and was nominated for three Emmy awards, including Best Documentary. She also started a nonprofit named 3 Generations, with a mission “to support survivors of genocide and victims of crimes against humanity by helping them share their stories.” This storytelling serves a three-fold purpose: to help rebuild culture that genocide obliterates; to reveal atrocities; and to move listeners to take action. The indelible journey continues with film projects that relay the stories of survivors of genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Congo and Zimbabwe as well as a Holocaust survivor. Visit 3generations.org.
Kathy Klug is a force of nature. Officially referred to as Dr. Klug, she recently received her PhD in educational and administrative leadership. When not planning the annual college fair for the for college—she helps the Chris Klug Foundation raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. Her “spare” time, however, is dedicated to another cause, one that is dear to her heart and a catalyst for true global outreach.
The beneficiary of her largesse is Teachers Across Borders, a nonprofit, volunteer-based educational organization of teachers dedicated to training their peers in developing countries. Twenty educators (10 from the Roaring Fork Valley and 10 from around the world) travel annually to Siem Reap, Cambodia’s tourist city, to hold educational workshops for Cambodian teachers. “Cambodia was chosen because it’s a post-holocaust country where up to half of the population was killed, beginning with teachers and professionals,” Klug explains.
A key worn on her necklace reminds her that teachers are truly the keys to a country, and the only way to get rid of poverty is through education.
Klug designs, fundraises, contributes, directs and teaches a workshop for the seven-year-old program.
For Klug education is the foundation of her local and international achievements. Whatever project she tackles, she does so with a zeal and enthusiasm that is certainly awe-inspiring. Visit teachersacrossborders.org; chrisklugfoundation.org.
Top picks for a charitable season—E.P.
1. Summit for Life weekend (December 11–12) to benefit the Chris Klug Foundation; summitforlife.org
2. Aspen Valley Medical Foundation’s Celebration of Giving (December 16); avmfaspen.org
3. Cirque d’Aspen (December 28–30) to benefit the Aspen Youth Center; aspenyouthcenter.org
4. Les Dames d’Aspen Winter Luncheon (January 7, 2010) at The Little Nell;
5. Downhill Gala (February 27, 2010) to benefit the Aspen Youth Experience; ayexp.org
FROM TOP: Jane Wells and refugees in Darfur; Kathy Klug at Bantry Srey outside Siem Reap, Cambodia; Dave Stapleton at the Aspen Celebrity Downhill Race
photographs by tanya habjouqa (wells); brent moss (stapleton)