Scholarship Recipient Vows to Leave this World a Better Place

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

Jamie Haller (L) priming drywall

“My week in New Orleans helping to rebuild a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina was incredible and by far, one of the most rewarding weeks of my life”, reported Jamie Haller, a 2012 recipient of a Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break scholarship stipend.

A junior and international relations major and education minor at the University of Colorado – Boulder, Jamie has been raised by a single mother for the past 8 years and works year round to pay for her own tuition, books and living expenses.  With no money left to spare to cover the expenses of the trip, Jamie was extremely grateful to the Casey Feldman Foundation for the $500 stipend.

Jamie and her fellow volunteers stayed at a church in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans–the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.”I was shocked to see how much work has yet to be done in the area, certain streets felt like ghost towns with the large number of empty lots and remains of houses”, stated Jamie. “ It is hard to believe that these people have gone through so much and yet their upbeat spirit has remained–it is truly inspirational to see.”

The students working on Betty's house

Jamie and a team of student volunteers spent 4 days working with the non-profit, St.Bernard Project which has rebuilt over 445 homes in the greater New Orleans area since 2006. Jamie and her fellow volunteers worked on the home of an elderly woman, “Betty”, whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The students “mudded”, sanded and primed drywall, caulked, primed and painted the exterior of the house and laid down linoleum on the interior floors.

“I’m happy that Betty will soon be able to live in a healthy and clean environment”, said Jamie. “It was so great seeing how quickly things can come together when you have such a great team working alongside one another”.

What are Jamie’s pans for the future upon graduation? Ms. Haller plans on joining the Peace Corps, after which she hopes to work on developing education plans in West Africa.”I want to leave this world a better place than when I found it”, said Jamie.

Contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that more students may experience the rewards of an Alternative Spring Break.  

Jamie Haller cauking the exterior of Betty's home

Related Links:

- University of Colorado Boulder Volunteer Resource Center (Plans and organizes Alternative Spring Break trips for students at CU)

- St. Bernard Project

- Helping our children experience the gift of helping others, article in the Fall CU Parent Newsletter by Casey Feldman’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson in which they discuss the establishment of the Alternative Spring Break scholarships in Casey’s memory

Casey Feldman Inspiration video , produced by CU Boulder broadcast journalism student Kylie Bearse and which aired on CU Boulder TV News, concerning the Alternative Spring Break program and the scholarships established in Casey’s memory

Previous  articles on the Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates about the Alternative Spring Break Program and the many scholarship recipients who have benefited

 

Meg Boeni Receives Second Annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

R to L: Scholarship recipient Meg Boeni, SHS Teacher & Theater Director, John Gildea and Chris Price, 2011 Casey Feldman Recipient

Meg Boeni of Unionville High School in Chester County, PA was awarded the 2012 second annual Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies scholarship at the Seventh Annual Greater Philadelphia Critics and Awards Program for High School Students, commonly known as the Cappies.

The Cappies is an international program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend theatrical productions and musicals at other high schools, write reviews of the shows and publish those reviews in local newspapers. Students vote on the winners, who are announced at the Cappies Gala, which is patterned after Broadway’s Tony Awards program.

Production numbers and dramatic scenes are performed, interspersed this year with 42 Cappies presentations made by teachers, principals, superintendents and others from high schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey at the Greater Philadelphia  Cappies Gala.  The Greater Philadelphia Cappies, with 34 participating high schools in the region, is second in size only to the program in Washington, D.C., where the Cappies started in 1999.

SHS student Cappies winners, Bridget Elise Yingling - Best Featured Actress in a Play and James Cella -Senior Male Critic Award

In 2005, The Greater Philadelphia chapter was established and Casey became the first lead critic from Springfield High School (SHS). Casey acted in 6 theatrical productions during her high school years and was nominated for a Cappie herself at the 2006 Gala. Casey played Gwendolyn Pidgeon in the Odd Couple and accepted the 2006 Cappie on behalf of the entire SHS cast that year for Best Play. In 2010, Casey was awarded an Honorary Cappie, which was accepted by her parents at the Gala that year.

Casey’s Springfield  High School theater director and teacher, John Gildea, nominated Meg Boeni this year to receive the Casey Feldman scholarship and presented the award at the Gala. In nominating Ms. Boeni, Mr. Gildea pointed out that Meg has  starred in musicals and plays at her school, has been a nominee for Undergraduate Female Critic, a recipient of the Comic Actress in a Play Cappie Award, and director of her school’s May Play Society; she has participated in the Walnut Street Theatre student-writing program, has taken a dual enrollment course at Immaculata College, in addition to an online course to learn Arabic at BYU in an effort to further  her journalism repertoire. All of this was accomplished while maintaining a 4.19 GPA in high school.

Casey Feldman and Matt Thornton arriving at the 2006 Cappies Gala

In presenting the award, Mr. Gildea stated,

“However, her most important trait is that of community service, which is exactly what Casey excelled in during her lifetime. Tonight’s recipient is heavily involved in her church’s Migrant Ministry, in particular the Ignited Youth Program which sponsors the Bilingual Puppet Ministry. In this program, tonight’s recipient does outreach to the migrant and elementary communities, teaching the stories of the Bible as well as lessons on bullying and other important life lessons, using both her Spanish and English skills. She also involves herself in Good Neighbors Projects, the Girls Scouts, her school’s National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society to conduct community-service oriented projects.”

Meg was surprised, grateful and humbled to receive the Casey Feldman Cappies Scholarship which is being put to good use at Boston University, where Meg is now enrolled as a freshman majoring in journalism.

Congratuations Meg!

Contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional deserving students may receive scholarship opportunities.

 

Related Links:

YouTube Video – Greater Philadelphia Cappies 2012 Nominations

Greater Philadelphia Cappies

“High school stage stars honored at Cappies Gala”, The Daily Times

“Chris Price Receives First Casey Feldman Foundation Cappies Scholarship Award”,  Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates

“Casey Feldman Awarded an Honory Cappie; SHS Laramie Project Cast Wins Awards at the Cappies”, Casey Feldman Foundation News & Updates

  Photos of Casey’s high school performances and the 2006 Cappies

“SHS theater family remembers beloved actress”, The News of Delaware County

 

Casey Feldman Foundation Announces the 2012 Youth Turn It Around Winners

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Turning Adversity into Action, Youth Organizations Make NOYS for Road Safety

 The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) has announced the winners of its second annual Youth – Turn it Around Awards Program. YOUTH-Turn is a program of the National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS®), sponsored by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each year the Youth- Turn It Around Awards recognizes and awards cash prizes to youth organizations that use the YOUTH-Turn resources to turn tragedy into positive action in their schools and communities. (more…)

Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Awards 2012 Scholarship to Springfield High School Senior

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

By Joel D. Feldman

Bridget Clawson at her senior prom

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation awarded a $1500 scholarship to Springfield High School (SHS) graduating senior Bridget Clawson. The award was presented by SHS teacher John Gildea and Casey Feldman’s mother, Dianne Anderson, at the SHS Senior Awards Ceremony. Ms. Clawson was recommended for the award by SHS faculty member Christine Belton. Ms. Clawson will be attending Temple University in the Fall and looks forward to becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner and travelling to a third world country to help others.

In nominating Ms. Clawson, Christine Belton stated:
Bridget is an extraordinary young woman; she is driven to make a difference in the world and she is not afraid to take on leadership roles to further the causes she champions. Bridget leads by example and keeps her judgment for herself and does not project it on her peers. Bridget is determined yet resilient-she practices, practices, practices, does all the legwork and homework and puts in unlimited hours to complete her work for her courses and her activities…Bridget is an insightful, focused, confident and thoughtful young woman who  … focuses on the bright world around her.”

Ms. Clawson was a four-year member of SADD serving as an officer for three years; a four year participant in the Dance Marathon, serving as committee member for two years and captain for one; a member of the PEER Facilitators; played multiple sports and participated in all four musicals during her high school career.

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation awards an annual scholarship to a graduating senior who possesses a superior work ethic, has compassion for the world around her/him , is caring and supportive of those in need,  is loyal and maintains a diverse group of friends.

Congratulations Bridget!

Fordham Observer Scholarship Recipients Attend Associated Collegiate Press Conferences

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

Harry Huggins, The Observer’s 2011 Recipient

With scholarship stipends from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, two students from Fordham University’s Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) were able to attend the 2011 and 2012 Associated Collegiate Press  (ACP) conferences. Both students are staff members of The Observer, the student newspaper at FCLC, where Casey was News Editor at the time of her death.

Casey was able to attend the San Francisco conference in 2008 and the scholarships in memory of Casey enable at least one student each year to attend this very informative and educational journalism conference from which Casey learned a great deal. The Observer won Best of Show both years for a four year non weekly newspaper and Best of Show this year for their website.

Harry Huggins, a native of Illinois and junior at FCLC, attended the 2011 conference in Los Angeles. Like Casey, his major is Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism.   Harry has been a staff member of The Observer since his freshman year, occupying the position of Opinions Editor for the last two years.  Harry has just been selected as Editor-in-Chief for next year. Reportedly “passionate about journalism”,  Harry’s  goal is to someday be an “editor … somewhere!”

In expressing his gratitude for the scholarship stipend, Harry reported that his time at the conference gave him the ideas and advice from media professionals that ignited his drive to turn The Observer into a modern online news source. According to Harry, “With the tips I got at the conference, we are now focusing on multimedia content and breaking news reporting to better serve the Fordham community.”

In addition to his work on The Observer, Harry  is interning this semester with MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. After studying in London last year and copy editing the party newspaper for the Liberal Democrat party, Harry interned with MSNBC’s Morning Joe upon his return to New York.  Back home in Chicago last summer Harry served as the Community Producer of the Chicago Tribune’s branch of hyperlocal websites, TribLocal.  His passion for journalism however, extends back to his pre-college years where Mr. Huggins was an Arts and Entertainment reporter for his high school newspaper and the Features Editor, senior year.

An honors student, Harry was also one of the coordinators of Fordham’s Emerging Leaders club last year and an Orientation Leader, positions that Harry stated also “fulfilled my love of leading others.”

Jasper Chang The Observer’s 2012 Recipient

A native of Staten Island, Jasper Chang received this year’s scholarship stipend to attend the ACP conference in Seattle. Also a junior at FCLC, Mr. Chang is an English major with a minor in Creative Writing and has been this year’s Assistant Sports Co-Editor of The Observer. Fluent in Cantonese, Mr. Chang is also an accomplished gymnast and has worked part time during college teaching gymnastics to young people.

In addition to writing for The Observer, Jasper has worked in NYC for FoodFan Inc. as a Social Media Intern where he photographed NYC restaurants’ food and drink items for upload on FoodFan’s social networks, wrote critical reviews on NYC’s cultural cuisines, assisted in maintenance and update of FoodFan’s Facebook page and managed and updated FoodFan’s Boston Twitter.

Currently the Editorial Intern at Marvel Entertainment in NYC, Jasper’s duties include reviewing and revising master scripts for grammatical errors, organization and coherent storylines.

With an interest in broadcast journalism, Jasper reported that his experience at the ACP Journalism Conference was “certainly worth remembering”.  According to Jason, “The sessions I attended were very informative and gave me a different perspective on how to produce news, create multimedia content, and write articles. I thank the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation for granting me this engaging and informative experience that has deepened my understanding of the world of journalism.”

Related Links:

Associated Collegiate Press

Fordham University’s Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC)

The Observer  (Student Newspaper of FCLC)

 

 

 

PIIE Scholarship Recipient Aids Non-Profit Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

“Through this internship, I was reminded of the difference that one single individual can have”, stated Lynette Schweimler, who received a scholarship stipend from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to intern at the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center this past summer in Boulder, CO. Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center offers safe and affordable reproductive and sexual health services to both men and women. Lynette served  as the Social Media Coordinator through the University of Colorado – Boulder PIIE (Public Interest Internship Experience) program. The scholarship from the Casey Feldman Foundation enabled Lynette to be paid for her full time work there.

(more…)

The Faces of the 2012 Alternative Spring Break Scholarship Recipients

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Five outstanding University of Colorado -Boulder students have received an Alternative Spring Break scholarship stipend enabling them to travel to another part of the country and perform community service over their college spring break. All of the students evidenced financial need and would not have been able to participate without this scholarship stipend from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation. This year’s recipients are as follows:

Chelsea Miller

Leticia Martinez

Taylor Hayes

Jamie Haller

Francesca "Franky" Navarrette


Chelsea Miller is an International Relations major focusing on social justice in Africa and the Middle East. Her dream is “to save the world.” Chelsea will be spending her spring break volunteering in Atlanta, GA with an organization that supports marginalized girls in all aspects of their development, attempting to break the cycles of poverty, low self-esteem, and teen pregnancy. (more…)

Monique John Recipient of 2012 Fordham University Casey Feldman Scholarship

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

Monique John, Fordham University 2012 Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Scholarship Recipeint

“Ms. Monique John is an extraordinary student who has made a strong impression on everyone who has taught her”, stated Dr. Brian Rose, Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC), in describing this year’s 2012 Fordham University Casey Feldman scholarship recipient. “Her tremendous commitment to her coursework and her overwhelming focus on a career in journalism reminds me, in many ways, of Casey”, added Dr.Rose. A junior at FCLC where she maintains a 3.7 GPA, Ms. John is managing editor of the Observer, FCLC’s award winning student newspaper and President of Molimo, Fordham’s black cultural club. Also fluent in Spanish, Monique is double majoring in communication and media studies and African and African American studies.

In recommending Ms. John for the scholarship, Associate Professor Albert Auster said, “More than being an A student in her studies Monique … was a vigorous, outspoken and intelligent contributor to discussions on the issues that we discussed in class…. Her research papers were well thought out, thoroughly researched, and filled with cogent insights into whatever area she was looking at…. She was one of a few students who could make the classes she was in more than just discussions of the issues of class, but she could bring to bear a wide gamut of experiences that were impressive.”

Also no stranger to community service and social commitment, Ms John has worked with Global Outreach Florida as a Team Leader with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Immokalee Housing & Family Services and Habitat for Humanity. Last year’s summer vacation was spent with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School in Mount Vernon, NY as a Servant Leader Intern working with middle school and high school students to improve their reading skills, teaching dance classes for 5 to 17 year olds and leading students on field trips. (more…)

Scholarship Recipient Passionate About the Environment

Friday, November 4th, 2011

By Dianne L. Anderson

Amber and her fellow student volunteers digging up blackberry bushes at the Cascade Head Nature Conservancy

“Since my early years of high school, I have always been passionate about the environment,” stated Amber Diaz in her application for a scholarship stipend to volunteer for a week doing environmental conservation work at the Cascade Head Nature Conservancy in Oregon. “With very little money to spare” while saving money for college tuition and books, this sophomore Environmental Studies major was deeply grateful to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation for the $575 stipend which covered the expenses of her Alternative Spring Break trip.

Amber’s passion for the environment began as a high school freshman when she and a dozen other students packed themselves into a van and drove to Baja, Mexico to work at a sea turtle reserve in an area where the locals had previously captured and sold the turtles on the black market. While there, Amber helped to rehabilitate and return sea turtles to the wild that had been caught in fishermen’s nets. Amber cleaned the pools, scrubbed the turtles’ shells and helped build a roof over the pools to give the turtles some shade from the hot sun. The operator of the reserve was native to the area and provided jobs to other locals which centered on ecotourism activities such as whale watching in an area where the endangered grey whales can also be found. This was most exciting for Amber who stated, “It was surprising to see the incredible change in attitudes of the locals towards their native wildlife, and to see them using their diverse wildlife to make a living. The trip inspired me to believe that people don’t always have to destroy the environment to be successful, they can live alongside it.”

Amber Diaz and her fellow student volunteers also worked on trail restoration in Oregon

Back in Colorado Amber volunteers with the Colorado Reptile Humane Society after becoming interested in the exotic pet trade and the impact on local wildlife stemming from the abandonment of exotic pets. The shelter takes in iguanas, snakes, and other reptiles, many of whom suffer from health problems due to neglect. “Seeing these animals, who would have died without the humane society’s intervention, survive and find good homes made me realize not only how negative attitudes towards reptiles can affect the environment and harm animals, but also how proper education can significantly better the lives of reptiles kept as pets, and in turn keep those pets from being abandoned and become invasive species in our habitats,” stated Amber.

The environmental significance of Amber’s volunteer work on her Alternative Spring Break trip to Oregon was of a different sort. The variety of ecosystems at Cascade Head, which include forests, several prairie headlands and the Salmon River are home to more than 350 species of wildlife and rare wildflowers.  The spotted owl, marbled murrelet, coho salmon, and the Oregon silver spot butterfly are all federally listed endangered species which either use or inhabit the area.  Because of its ecological significance, Cascade Head Preserve and the surrounding national forest and other lands have won recognition as a National Scenic Research Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve.

Amber Diaz and her fellow volunteers pose for a picture at the Cascade Head Nature Conservancy

Amber’s service at Cascade Head  focused primarily on digging up and removing invasive Himalayan blackberry bushes from the grassland community,  which  negatively impact  the rare  wildflowers and wildlife  naturally found there.  “It sounds easy, but the roots were usually really deep and branched out in every direction it seemed,” reported Amber.  Amber and her fellow student volunteers also worked on trail preservation of hiking trails that had become damaged and difficult to navigate after the rainy season. “Sometimes the work seemed tedious and we didn’t see our results immediately, but I know that the work we did during our week in Oregon has contributed to preserving the grasslands in this spectacular coastal headland which is a true natural gem”.

 

[Donate to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to help provide other students with scholarship opportuities]

 Related Links and Posts:

- Cascade Head Nature Conservancy

- Cascade Head Experimental Forest and Scenic Research Area 

- Helping our children experience the gift of helping others, article in the Fall CU Parent Newsletter by Casey Feldman’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne in which they discuss the establishment of the Alternative Spring Break scholarships in Casey’s memory.

- Casey Feldman Inspiration video , produced by CU Boulder broadcast journalism student Kylie Bearse and which aired on CU Boulder TV News, concerning the Alternative Spring Break program and the scholarships established in Casey’s memory.

- University of Colorado – Boulder Volunteer Resource Center , volunteer office at CU which organizes the Alternative Spring Break trips

-Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation News and Updates – University of Colorado/ Alternative Spring Break, all of the Foundation articles concerning the Alternative Spring Break scholarship program

Service for the Greater Good an Integral Part of Scholarship Recipient’s Life

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

By Dianne L. Anderson

Erica Durbin with one of the goats at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Erica Durbin is not your everyday college student. Then again, how many college students choose to spend their one week off from college for spring break mucking out a barn and barnyard, carrying bales of hay in the snow to feed farm animals and simply spending time with cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, and goats who have been rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment. Erica received a $480 scholarship stipend from the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation to travel with other students to Woodstock, NY, the town made famous for peace and music, to volunteer at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The stipend covered travel, lodging and expenses for the week of service.

Erica, a Communications and Sociology major at the University of Colorado – Boulder  (CU) works 20 -30 hours a week and more during the school semesters, allotting 95% of her pay for tuition, books and Phi Beta Pi dues. Despite her hectic schedule and financial pressures, service for the greater good has been an integral part of her young life.

Erica has been active with the Flatirons’ Habitat for Humanity, helping to build homes for those less fortunate who are local to her college community in Boulder, CO. She also works with CU Going Local, a group of college students who collaborate and advocate for “everything local” in Boulder, which takes her beyond the campus and to local businesses and restaurants. Through the MlK Dream Readers, in cooperation with Boulder elementary schools, Erica and her sorority sisters are reading and study buddies to youth. In conjunction with tutoring the students once or twice a week in areas of difficulty, Erica also acts as a mentor and encourages her young “buddies” to formulate dreams and goals for their lives.

Erica Durbin and her fellow volunteer students raking the muck in the barnyard at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

She has also spearheaded recycling at her sorority where, with the help of a supportive “house mom”, recycling bins are now as prevalent as garbage bins within the house. Erica has also educated her chapter on annual food waste and the sorority sisters are now making an effort to take only helpings of food they can eat at mealtime and return to the kitchen later if still hungry.

Erica’s recycling efforts have also extended into the Office of Parent Relations where she works on the CU campus. “We no longer wheel tubs out to the garbage bin weekly as I recall doing frequently in my early employment”, said Erica. Through her efforts and with aid of another student worker, the Office has begun utilizing the mass-recycling services of the CU Environmental Club to shred and/or properly and efficiently reprocess expired files and documents. Material specific recycling receptacles are now utilized within the shared departments’ copy room. The office also no longer prints on certain types and colors of paper for their published documents, and have made sufficient “paperless” improvements, such as creating innovative social network accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube-in progress, Flickr), to network information between the CU Office of Parent Relations and the parents.

Tossing down a bale of straw from the barn loft to spread as clean bedding for the animals

Of course, Erika is an animal lover and when she visits her mother in Evergreen, CO she and her young stepsiblings visit the Evergreen Animal Protective League during the play and adoptive hours, “to show some compassion to the furry residents.” Last year, Erika also applied for an Alternative Spring Break scholarship through the Casey Feldman Foundation and spent a week doing environmental conservation work on Catalina Island, CA to help restore the land and waters of the island.

When asked if she tires of so much volunteer activity, Erika replied in the negative adding, “My passion to advocate for the unheard and insufficiently represented strains within society have intensified for me, the more I do this kind of work. It has become a part of who I am.” Coupled with the successful recycling projects and environmental work, it is clear that Erika Durbin is one of those people who is making a positive impact on this world.

[Contribute to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation so that other students may experience the rewards of an Alternative Spring Break.]

Related Posts and Links:

- Photos from Erika Durbin’s Woodstock Week of Service

- Helping our children experience the gift of helping others, article in the Fall CU Parent Newsletter by Casey Feldman’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne in which they discuss the establishment of the Alternative Spring Break scholarships in Casey’s memory.

- Casey Feldman Inspiration video, produced by CU Boulder broadcast journalism student Kylie Bearse and which aired on CU Boulder TV News, concerning the Alternative Spring Break program and the scholarships established in Casey’s memory.

- University of Colorado – Boulder Volunteer Resource Center,  volunteer office at CU which organizes the Alternative Spring Break trips

-Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation News and Updates – University of Colorado/ Alternative Spring Break, all of the Foundation articles concerning the Alternative Spring Break scholarship program