By Dianne L. Anderson
“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.”
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.
- University of Colorado Boulder Volunteer Resource Center (Plans and organizes Alternative Spring Break trips for students at CU)
- 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