TDC- Columbine survivor to work with Nobel Peace laureates
Donald L Ferry
Jan 16, 2001 07:22 PST
Columbine survivor to work with Nobel Peace laureates
By Steven K. Paulson
DENVER - Richard Castaldo, left paralyzed by the attack at Columbine High
School, began a new career Monday as an international activist, gathering
school supplies to send to war-ravaged East Timor.
Castaldo said while he was recovering from his injuries suffered in the 1999
attack, he was visited by Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, who won the 1996
Nobel peace prize.
Columbine seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one
teacher before committing suicide on April 20, 1999. Dozens of others,
including Castaldo, were injured in the attack.
"Jose Ramos-Horta stood by me in my time of need. It's time for me to be a
friend to him, and to lead this initiative to help round up basic school
supplies for the students in East Timor," Castaldo said.
The eight-week relief effort, sponsored by PeaceJam Foundation of Denver
TheCommunity.com, will end March 10. The school supplies will then be
shipped to East Timor, one of the world's newest democracies, where Castaldo
said students and teachers are struggling to reopen schools destroyed in the
Castaldo said the most needed supplies include pens, pencils, notebooks,
glue sticks, chalk, crayons, tape, solar-powered calculators, erasers and
PeaceJam is an international education program in which Nobel Peace Prize
winners work with young people to share their visions and inspire to work
Castaldo, who graduated from Columbine last year, is a member of the musical
group Zebra Junction and a student at Aurora Community College.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was occupied by the Indonesian army
in 1975 and ruled with an iron fist until the downfall of Indonesia's
army-backed dictator Suharto.
In 1999, the Indonesian army and its militia auxiliaries launched a campaign
of killing and looting after East Timorese overwhelmingly voted for
independence in a U.N.-organized referendum.
The country is now being administered by the United Nations during its
transition to full independence next year.
Castaldo said he still stays in touch with Ramos-Horta by e-mail, and said
he felt this was one way he could contribute to others.
"I've learned to have friends, you must also be a friend," Castaldo said.
Supplies and cash donations can be sent to PERFET, c/o TheCommunity.com,
3212 Jefferson St., No. 217, Napa, CA 94558.
January 16, 2001