“The struggle that I have seen my mother go through is my motivation to achieve my dreams”

November 25th, 2014

By Dianne L. Anderson

Priyanka Sharma Guragain 2014 CU Alt Sp Brk

Priyanka Guragain

Priyanka Guragain is one of those young people who the Casey Foundation Foundation takes great pride in calling one of our scholarship recipients. She applied for a scholarship stipend in her freshman year in college to take an “Alternative Spring Break” trip, where she could spend the week working, being of service. She didn’t want one of those spring breaks trips to Cancun, to relax and “party”, even if she could have afforded it.

Now a sophomore sociology major, Priynaka came to this country from Nepal six years ago with her mother and younger brother to escape the misery of Prynaka’s father, who plagued the family with his substance abuse.  In addition to a heavy course load, Priyanka works part time time throughout the school year and full time in the summer so that she can help to meet her needs and those of her younger brother. Priyanka’s mother, a single parent, considers Priyanka her “right hand” and second guardian to her younger brother.  Leaving behind a career in Nepal, Priynanka’s ‘s mother struggles financially here, with half of her salary going to pay for Priynaka’s college tuition.

The CU volunteer students on Catatlina Island

The CU volunteer students on Catalina Island

” I have felt the pressure of huge expectations and dreams that my mother carries for me. As I began college last fall, I used those dreams as my strength to get through college,” said Priyanka. “The struggle that I have seen my mother go through is my motivation to achieve my dreams,”  she added.

The service trip that Priyanka  chose was an environmental trip, working with the Catalina Island Conservancy in California, helping to protect and restore one of the world’s most magnificent islands. While there, Priyanka and a dozen or so other students from University of Colorado Boulder removed invasive plants, performed trail maintenance and removed fences on the steep hillsides surrounding parts of the island.

Priyanka chose this trip because of her appreciation of nature and the environment, and to learn more about environmental conservation, “I have seen the beautiful rural areas of Nepal, but unfortunately, because of its political turmoil,  environmental conservation has not been a focus of the citizens there.” said Priyanka.

Students embracing the beauty of Catalina Island

Students embracing the beauty of Catalina Island

With what little extra time she has, Priynaka is involved in other student organizations on campus in addition to the Volunteer Resource Center, which organized the spring break trip. She also works with Community Health and Restorative Justice. stating that ,” I don’t want to let any opportunity pass by because I want to make college a journey of knowledge and great experience….College is everything I dreamed it would be.”

Priynaka speaks four languages, Nepali, Hindi, English and Spanish and is “very curious” to try a new one.  As to her future plans, Priyanka has an interest in the Peace Corps and the United Nations.

” I am only seventeen and the accomplishments that Casey achieved with her passions encourages me to dream bigger,” stated Pryianka.

Please Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to help more students achieve their dreams.

 

Related Links:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back

About the Alternative Spring Break Program

“Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities”

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through blog for all articles)

2013 SHS Scholarship Recipient in 2nd Year at Georgetown

November 22nd, 2014

By Dianne L. Anderson

Jaclyn DiGregorio SHS 2013 scholarship recipientIt’s always great to follow up with our scholarship recipients and hear how well they are doing. Jaclyn DiGregorio, one of our Springfield High School (SHS) 2013 recipients, is no exception.

Jaclyn is currently in her second year at Georgetown University studying Marketing and International Business in the McDonough School of Business. In addition to her rigorous course load which she reports as “interesting”, Jaclyn is working in a marketing internship where she is gaining valuable hands-on experience in her major.

Jaclyn is also heavily involved in her sorority at Georgetown, Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG), where she is New Member Chair, responsible for welcoming all new members and helping them “get up to speed” with the work of KKG at Georgetown.

Jaclyn graduated 4th in her class at SHS. She was a member of the National Honor Society, PEER Facilitators, National Language Honor Society and the Hi-Q. She has also served as class officer of the class of 2013 for three years and was chairperson for the Steve Stefani Dance Marathon, becoming the most successful leader in its history, leading her peers and community to raise over $194,000 for pediatric cancer patients.

Way to go Jaclyn! We thank your SHS teacher, Dr. William Harley, for recommending you for the scholarship that bears Casey’s name.

Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to help more students achieve their dreams.

 

 

Meet Valerie Vecchione, Our Springfield High School 2014 Scholarship Recipient

November 11th, 2014

Valerie Vecchione SHS 14'By Dianne L. Anderson

“Val is a terrific young woman who possesses many of the qualities that Casey did as a student here at SHS,” stated Springfield High School (SHS) Director of Bands, Scott Blanford in nominating Valerie Vecchione for the 2014 Casey Feldman Foundation SHS scholarship. “She has a natural talent to perform, a superior work ethic, excellent leadership qualities, and is caring, supportive, and just a downright good person.” SHS teacher, Lisa Shughart, who also nominated Valerie, stated that Val is a ” loving, caring, young woman who holds much promise.”

Valerie has used her scholarship proceeds toward West Chester University where she is currently in the first semester of her freshman year, studying to become an elementary school teacher.

While at SHS, Valerie was involved in multiple activities. She held the leadership position of Guard Captain of the SHS Marching Band. In that position, she consistently demonstrated the ability to work hard behind the scenes, perform under pressure in front of thousands of people, and connect positively with her peers. Valarie constantly put the focus on the members of the guard and demonstrated “an amazing level of loyalty and honestly with her peers,” added Mr. Blanford. “The students in the band looked to her for her leadership, guidance, and support.”

As an active participant in the music program while at SHS, Valerie was also a member of the indoor guard and school choirs. She has also participated in the SHS Dance Marathon, an annual event that has raised over $225,000 in the last 13 years for the Hershey Medical Center’s Four Diamonds Fund.

In her aspiration to become a teacher, Valerie has taken advantage of summer activities to become involved in different ways with her chosen profession.  As a sophomore she volunteered with StageStormers, a children’s summer theater program that she herself was active in during her grade school and middle school years. As a high school volunteer there, she assisted the director with teaching the children their lines, singing, and games. As a junior and following her senior year, Val volunteered in Scenic Hills Elementary School’s summer program helping students with reading, math, and other assignments.

Last but not least, Valerie volunteered after her freshman year in high school with CatNip Animal Rescue, one of the many causes particularly near and dear to Casey’s heart. While at the animal rescue, Val helped to nurture sick and/or injured cats and kittens back to health; provide information to potential adopters and others; and, place homeless cats with their forever families.

We at the Casey Feldman Foundation could not be more honored to have Valerie Vecchione as the 2014 recipient of the SHS scholarship that bears Casey’s name. We also could not agree more completely with Mr. Blanford in his comment that Valerie  “will continue to become a well-rounded, compassionate, and responsible citizen of the global community.”

Thank you SHS’s Scott Blanford and Lisa Shughart for nominating this outstanding young woman! And, best wishes Valerie,  for your success in college and ultimately as an elementary school teacher.

Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to help more students achieve their dreams.

A Veteran’s Expression of Patriotism and Love for His Country 96 Years Ago (Casey’s Great-Grandfather)

November 10th, 2014

By Joel D. Feldman

World War I, described as the “war to end all wars,” ended with the signing of the Armistice. The Armistice took effect on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month in 1918. Following World War II we now remember veterans from all wars on Veterans Day, November 11th. On November 11th, 1918 my grandfather Louis was 23 years old, an army corporal and was in France fighting the Germans. Like many veterans during his life he talked sparingly about what he saw, but one sensed that it had to have been awful and likely beyond our ability to comprehend. He did describe what it was like being in trenches and subjected to mustard gas-blistering of skin, coughing and retching and worse. What would my then 23 year old grandfather have been thinking and feeling as he learned the war was ending?

He, like others, must have been overjoyed to hear that the war was over and that he would be able to return home to his family and that he had survived and that Germany had been defeated. Being an artist he celebrated by carving both sides of the lid of his mess kit. On one side he carved the date and time and what had been our nation’s motto until 1956—“E pluribus unum,” meaning, “out of many one,” referring to the creation of a single nation from many colonies. On the other side an image of Mother Liberty. My grandfather could not have chosen any images that would have better symbolized one’s love for country and American freedom.

The top of Grandpa's mess kit lid

The top of Grandpa’s mess kit lid

The inside of the mess kit lid

The inside of the mess kit lid

My grandfather’s mess kit has been in my possession for many years and will always be one of our family’s most precious possessions. I was 23 when my grandfather died-the same age that he was when World War I came to an end.  I have often looked at the carvings on his mess kit and wondered about the moments of their creation.  As I have grown older, when holding the mess kit,  I tear up thinking of him. I know that it is not because he is dead as he lived a very long and full life and I know the pain of losing someone who was far too young to have died. I have come to realize that I become emotional because I did not get to know my grandfather as well as I could and should have and, like others whom I have loved and are gone, it is too late to do so now.

I never thanked my grandfather for many things, including his service to our country.

Thank you grandpa.

Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back

November 10th, 2014

Since 2010, The Casey Feldman Foundation has awarded 29 scholarship stipends to college students at CU who have chosen to have an “Alternative Spring Break”. These students perform a week of service in a community in some part of the United States. Their service has included addressing urban poverty, educating youth, feeding the poor, rebuilding communities torn apart by natural disasters, preserving the environment or wildlife, or working in some aspect of animal welfare, among many other forms of “giving back” to our world. Our 4 recipients for 2014 -  Bethany Bernard, Jennah Schein, Kailey Hassan-Wolff and Priyanka Sharma Guragain, were among some 111 students at CU who chose to volunteer their time for the greater good. These students often report that the experience changed their life and many choose to alter their future plans, change majors and incorporate service to others into their career goals.

The students must pay for the costs of their trip to cover transportation (by motor vehicle), food and basic lodging. Unfortunately, many students who would like to participate cannot afford to. There are so many inspirational fulltime students who are putting themselves through college; they have student loans, work, volunteer locally and cannot scrape the money together for the “luxury” of a spring break trip. Our scholarship stipends are based on financial need. It is with regret each year when we have to turn away qualified applicants.

Support our efforts in fostering a generation who want to make this world a better place and assist us in increasing the number of students who can participate. Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Related Links:

About the Alternative Spring Break Program

“Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities”

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through blog for all articles)

Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities – See more at: http://www.colorado.edu/news/features/alternative-breaks-program-connects-cu-students-communities#sthash.NWCmcans.dpuf

AB 2014 infograph

 

Casey Feldman’s 5th “Angelversary”

August 1st, 2014

Ken Garrity

By Dianne L. Anderson

July 17th marked the 5th anniversary of Casey’s death. We continue to honor her life and memory especially on the annual anniversary,  through a day of service surrounded by family and friends. Those unable to attend the Philadelphia area event remember Casey in their own special way on Casey’s “angelversary”.

The Casey Feldman Foundation was established to “give back”, so that Casey’s life would continue to make a difference in the lives of others. The 5th anniversary was no different, helping the patients at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia – individuals recovering from life altering trauma as a result of brain and spinal injuries or stroke. Volunteers did weeding and gardening, parking lot and grounds cleanup, moving of file boxes up the steps in assembly line fashion from the basement, among other chores.

Nancy Chester (L) and Scott and Betty Thornton

Since Casey was an animal lover, each year of service has incorporated this one of her many passions. The Casey Feldman Foundation established Magee’s first facility dog who works along side patients in their occupational therapy. To be distinguished from a service or therapy dog, this highly trained 4-legged “therapist” knows over 70 different commands, and assists patients with balance,  movements such as bending and grasping a ball to play fetch, and motivates them to do more during their physical therapy.

A special lunch time ceremony took place and volunteers were able to watch Joey at work with a patient and see a power point presentation by his handler, occupational therapist Christina Yulo Rinehimer, which featured Joey working with many different patients on a variety of skills.

Danielle Gibson and her little "sister"

Friends and family also heard from Casey’s parents and watched the moving “Remembering Casey” video produced by Casey’s father within the first few months of her death. It features Casey’s friends and family talking about Casey and how they have changed as a result of this life altering tragedy.

We continue to be blessed and humbled by the kindness, love and generosity of so many wonderful people who support The Casey Feldman Foundation in multiple ways.  We are also particularly grateful to those who volunteer their time to join us annually on the anniversary of Casey’s death.  It makes the day a bit easier surrounded by family and friends who join us to honor Casey in such a special way.

A patient works on his manual dexterity by brushing Joey's teeth

I, Casey’s mother,  as well as Casey’s father, Joel Feldman and her brother, Brett Feldman, are extremely grateful and thank all of you, without whose support we could not have have accomplished all that we have done in Casey’s memory these last 5 years.

Links:

Photos from the 2014 Day of Service

Because of Casey: Remembering & Celebrating One Woman’s Life & Legacy, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, July, 2014

Click here and scroll down to view the articles with links to press coverage, photos and videos, for all of the annual days of service.

Photos from all of the annual days of service

Some of the friends and family volunteers pose for a group photo at Magee

 

 

Join Us – The Casey Feldman Foundation’s 5th Annual Day of Service on Casey’s “Angelversary”: July 17, 2014

July 8th, 2014

Casey's dad, Joel with Joey and his trainer, Christina at Magee last July 17th

This year’s day of service for Casey Feldman’s fifth “Angelversary” will take place at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It has become an annual event on the anniversary of Casey’s death to perform a day of service in her honor and memory. Since Casey was an animal lover and animal rights advocate, the service thus far has included this aspect of her many passions.

Through the support of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Magee established its first Facility Dog program, in 2012, adding a new official member to the Magee team, Ford, the Golden Retriever.

Last year, the Casey Feldman Foundation, together with Anapol Schwartz (Casey’s dad, Joel’s law firm), sponsored Magee’s second therapy dog, Joey, a Labrador Retriever/ Golden Retriever mix (View the photos from the 2013 Day of Service and the video below). “Anapol Schwartz has supported so many of our activities following Casey’s death and we are so appreciative of that support”, said Joel.

Through Magee’s Facility Dog program, Joey works alongside trained health and human service professionals to support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process. This program will be recognized as part of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s fifth annual “Angelversary” Day of Service.

Family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation are invited to provide a few hours of service at Magee and watch Joey in action as he leads patients in therapy sessions.  Service projects for the morning include filing, gardening, cleaning the parking lot and cleaning windows.  A lunch time ceremony will take place at 12:30 pm and  the day will conclude at 2:00 pm.

Watch the video from last year’s day of service and see below to RSVP.

Please join us on July 17th for our 5th annual Casey Feldman Day of Service to honor Casey’s life and memory by giving back to others. RSVP by Tuesday, July 15th at The Casey Feldman Network’s Facebook Event or Dianne’s Facebook Event, text or call Dianne 610-659-6995, or, respond to the event on the Casey Feldman Network website.

Please also consider making a donation in honor of Casey’s life and memory, so that we may continue the good work of the Foundation.

Related Links:

Photos from the 2013 Day of Service

Video of the 2013 Day of Service

CBS TV news coverage/ 2012 Day of Service

ABC TV news coverage/2012 Day of Service

Magee Rehab Teams Up with Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation for Facility Dog Program

Photos from the 2012 Day of Service

Casey Feldman Foundation Sponsors Spay/Neuter Day & More at Animal Shelter

June 6th, 2014

By Dianne L. Anderson

Casey had a kind heart, and that kind heart extended not just to humans, but to animals as well.  Among its many endeavors, the Casey Feldman Foundation has sought to honor Casey’s love for  animals in numerous ways. The most recent is a grant to Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), through which  a Casey Feldman Foundation Spay/Neuter Day  has been scheduled for this Wednesday, June 11, 2014. As a result of this grant, four to five animals will be spayed and neutered.

Funds from this grant have also supported, Helga, a dog in need of medical care and will establish the “Casey Cam”, a camera installed in the training room to facilitate training classes and further volunteer education of animal training. Casey’s long time friend from Springfield, PA, Rachael Kemmey, who volunteers her time with the Foundation, organized this event and the distribution of funds with MLAR.

Casey's friend, Rachael Kemmey, greets some of the many animals at MLAR in Jan. while touring the facility with Casey's parents

Why spay and neuter? Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually (The Humane Society of the United States).  This sad and enormous number is as a result of un-spayed and un-neutered animals. One un-spayed female dog and one un-neutered male dog and their offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years. For cats it is even worse. One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring results in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

Helga - beautiful, but not happy wearing a cone!

Often, these animals arrive at MLAR and other shelters in need of medical care that goes beyond the basic and routine. Helga is just one of those animals.

A 5 year old German Sheppard who was rescued from a puppy mill, Helga had spent the previous 5 years in a rabbit hutch. She tried to rip off her own tail, which unfortunately had to be removed by the veterinary staff at MLAR. Helga was a spinner, commonly seen in dogs from puppy mills who have been confined in hutches; they spin for stimulation and to self soothe. Because Helga continued to spin after her surgery, trying to get to her absent tail, she was kept in a cone for an extended period of time. Helga was treated with several medications and has worked with a dedicated volunteer to help her gain the confidence needed to overcome her issues. After spending many weeks in the clinic under the watchful eyes of the MLAR medical staff, Helga is now in the main kennel and doing very well. It is not surprising that Helga enjoys exercise, something that was absent in the first 5 years of her life.

A limited number of supporters of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation who are animal lovers are invited to attend the event on Wednesday. The schedule is as follows:

Agenda for June 11:

Helga after her surgery

10:00 am – Representatives from the Casey Feldman Foundation arrive at the medical clinic

10:00am – 12:00pm

 Dr. Meg and Megan Anderson (Director of Animal Welfare and Enrichment) will introduce the animals before they go into surgery and share their stories.

 Clinic staff will share additional stories about the other animals currently in the clinic.

 Photos as appropriate

 Bring Helga down from the kennel for a visit.

 12:00pm – lunch will be provided in the development conference room

Spaces are limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Monday, June 8, 2014 by sending an email to DianneAnderson@CaseyFeldmanFoundation.org.

3 of the 4 of Casey's and the Feldman's rescued cats

Please consider making a donation to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation so that we may continue our good work in Casey’s memory.

One of the cat lounges at MLAR

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Happy Holidays; 2013 Year in Review

December 27th, 2013

 

 

The Casey Feldman Foundation  thanks each and every one of you for your support as we highlight some of our accomplishments in 2013.

We have awarded 16 scholarships to deserving college students, have funded the second facility therapy dog at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, continue to support Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals and have expanded our distracted driving awareness campaign.

Our volunteer speakers have given distracted driving presentations to more than 125,000 teens across the country and our website, EndDD.org  (End Distracted Driving), has become one of the leading resources in the battle to reduce distracted driving tragedies.

Please consider making a year-end tax deductible donation to The Casey Feldman Foundation so that we may continue our good work in Casey’s memory.

We wish all of you and your families a Happy, Healthy and Blessed 2014.

 

Related Links:

CBS News Coverage 2012: Health: Dog Therapy To Honor Casey

believe@Magee, July 16, 2013: Because of Casey: Magee’s Facility Dog Program

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals

 

 

Join Us: July 17, 2013, Day of Service at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on Casey’s 4th “Angelversary”

June 24th, 2013

Casey Feldman

This year’s day of service for Casey Feldman’s  fourth “Angelversary” will take place at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. It has become an annual event on the anniversary of Casey’s death to perform a day of service in her honor and memory. Since Casey was an animal lover and animal rights advocate, the service thus far has included this aspect of her many passions.

Through the support of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, Magee  established its first Facility Dog program, in 2012, adding a new official member to the Magee team, Ford, the Golden Retriever.

This year, the Casey Feldman Foundation, together with Anapol Schwartz (Casey’s dad, Joel’s law firm), has sponsored Magee’s  second therapy dog, Joey, a Labrador Retriever/ Golden Retriever mix. “Anapol Schwartz has supported so many of our activities following Casey’s death and we are so appreciative of that support”, said Joel.

Through Magee’s Facility Dog program, Joey works alongside trained health and human service professionals to support patients in their therapy and facilitate the rehabilitation process. This program will be recognized as part of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation’s fourth annual “Angelversary” Day of Service.

Casey's brother, Brett, meeting Joey at Magee in May

Family, friends and supporters of Casey and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation are invited to provide a few hours of service at Magee  and watch Joey in action as he leads patients in therapy sessions.  Service projects for the morning include filing, weeding the gardens, cleaning the parking lot and cleaning windows.  A lunch time ceremony will  take place at 12:30 pm and  the day will conclude at 2:00 pm.

Please RSVP by Monday, July 15th to join us on July 17th  at Casey Feldman Network Event or to Dianne Anderson, Casey Feldman’s mom, at 610-659-6995, or dianneanderson@caseyfeldmanfoundation.org. or on Dianne’s Facebook Event.

Related Links:

believe@Magee, July 16, 2013: Because of Casey: Magee’s Facility Dog Program

CBS News Coverage 2012: Health: Dog Therapy To Honor Casey,

Previous articles regarding the annual “Day of Service”

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

The Anapol Schwartz Foundation