Accolades, Testimonials & Press



Awakening Seminar                                                 Charity Concerts



“As a social worker with Banner Hospice, I wanted to attend the workshop to hone my skills as a counselor and a resource to those facing the end of life as well as their loved ones and caretakers. What an extraordinary gift the Awakening is to me! All I had to do was plant the seed of possibility, and it sprouted into fruition in a way so powerful that I continue to sense my connectedness to this part in spite of the continual stream of little pebbles in the shoe that daily life brings. After all the workshops, seminars, courses, reading, psychotherapy, and self-study in which I have engaged, this weekend stands as the most powerful for good. I marvel that the creators of the workshop covered it from so many angles—if I didn’t awaken in the manner I did, they had lots of other opportunities for me to rouse my Rip Van Winkle. My heartfelt thanks to Karmen and her staff for their commitment to bringing this experience to others and their mastery in doing so.”

~Kate Lucas, MSW, CISW
Banner Health Arizona

“Awakening holds up a mirror to reflect one’s core beliefs about life and death. The exercises promote deep searching, soul searching, as well as an important heart connection to others. For me, some beliefs were reinforced, others turned over and examined, some discarded. I was never pushed, just nudged in the direction of choosing what is the best for me. All of this enveloped in a loving and supportive way by Karmen and the staff. It was one of the most important weekends in my life.”

~ Barbara Joy, Ph.D. (ABD), M.C.
Arizona Director of Bereavement Services

“I was going through the motions of life but I was not living. Today I love myself and believe that life has so much for me. It was easier to run and stuff my feelings and use drugs to cover up all my feelings. It’s not easy to deal with feelings. It hurts but that hurt heals the pain. Shame, all of it goes away and it’s replaced with joy, peace, and love. You showed me that I am a very loving special lady that deserves all life has to give. Life is what I make of it today.”

Arizona Department of Corrections





From the Windstar Newsletter, February 2007

Karmen Dopslaff, Director of Expect a Miracle Now Foundation and supporter of the Windstar mission since it’s earliest years, met with the Windstar Board in August.  As she was updated on our current projects and future plans, her enthusiasm for our continuing work was ignited! She proposed the idea of a fundraiser and “Starlight In Aspen” was born.  Both The Windstar Foundation and Challenge Aspen would come to benefit from the proceeds from this event, being two organizations very close to Karmen’s heart. 

Karmen and event co-producer Chris Nole soon assembled the incredible band of Chris, Pete Huttlinger, John Sommers, Mack Bailey, drummer Brian McCrae, bass player Matt McKenzie and vocalists Brittany Allen, Mollie Weaver and Ellen Stapenhorst.  The stage at the Inn at Aspen was to be overflowing with talent! The event planning committee became busy with menus, seating charts, gift/auction gathering, program design, advertising versions and revisions!

It was a full four months of work but in the end the classic saying applies…. “a great time was had by all!” In every regards that was true! Guests celebrated the new year with great music, food, a live and silent auction and dancing till 3 a.m.!

As wonderful as it was celebrating with over 100 guests, the exceptional part for the Foundation was the generous donation given to Windstar following the event. Karmen enthusiastically handed Windstar a check for $10,000 to help fund our programs, old and new.


This concert was co-sponsored by Expect A Miracle Now Foundation:



Home Again


Christine Benedetti - Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Tue 10/17/2006 10:01AM MST

(Photo: Karen Tupek)


Exactly nine years ago, John Denver's friends gathered around a Snowmass campfire in post-memorial revelry to celebrate the legendary American singer's life, after he died in a plane accident just days before. Of course there was some singing (John Denver songs), reminiscing and even Jack Daniels made an appearance.

At that point, the group - comprised of local friends, former band members and family - came up with the idea to remember the folksinger in an annual event, thus John Denver Week was born. "Aspen is clearly where John Denver lived, and wrote his music, has his friendship circles and it's where it all started," says Larry Kushner, the executive director of the M.U.S.E. Foundation, the founding organization. "Now we use his music to perpetuate his good works."

The week is highlighted by back-to-back concerts, on Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14, featuring several of Denver's former band mates and headliner Kathy Mattea, a Grammy and Country Music award winner. Beyond the tributes though, is the heart and spirit of the event: thousands of dollars given back to local charity Challenge Aspen.

"John is such a figure, almost a founding figure in Aspen throughout the community, and people all over the world learned about Aspen through John," says Houston Cowan, Challenge Aspen's CEO. "And, it's great for a nonprofit organization to benefit even after he's gone for so many years."

And benefit they have, with more than $1.5 million through the years.

"That's a huge amount," says Cowan. "It's something that he would have been a part of, and he's still able to change people's lives without being here."

The money goes toward financing camps and bringing more than 400 disabled individuals and their families to the Roaring Fork Valley for a ski week, an experience they might have not otherwise been able to have, says Cowan. "We're truly about bringing people with disabilities to a place that John has always written and sung about, and that's the outdoors in the Rockies," he says.

Besides headliner Mattea, this weekend's concert showcases many of the regular returnees who perform in memoriam annually. Among these is local John Sommers, author of "Thank God I'm A Country Boy."

"It's just a wonderful opportunity to carry on John's music," says Sommers. "It's basically a chance for his fans to come together, from all over the world... and relive the past of John."

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend, with some globetrotting from Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan.

"John affected so many lives in so many ways - he did mine," he says.

Sommers played in John Denver's band for four years, but now plays for Heart of the Rockies. He says getting all the old members together is "really a special time" for them. Accompanying Sommers is Bill Danoff of "Take Me Home Country Roads," Mollie Weaver, former guitarist Pete Huttlinger, Jim Salestrom and Chris Nole.

Besides the concerts, there are a number of other, more intimate events planned for John Denver fans, such as a memorial service and hike to the John Denver shrine on Aspen Mountain.

This way, fans and former friends can have time to reflect on Denver's life, in his Rocky Mountain place. "We are paying respect to the memory he left," says Sommers. "But, his music is living on."