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

 

 

College Student Makes a Difference Through Foundation Scholarship

Monday, September 5th, 2011

By Dianne L. Anderson
 

Nicole Rodriquez drywalling the new home of Katrina victim

Nicole Rodriquez, Marketing and Spanish major at the University of Colorado – Boulder,  was particularly grateful to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation  for the scholarship  opportunity to  travel to New Orleans over her college spring break and aid in disaster relief.   “Volunteering is very important to me and I hope that in all my efforts I make some sort of difference, no matter how large or small it may be”, Nicole stated in her application for a $420 stipend.

The cost of the trip to cover travel, food and lodging was not something that was  in this senior college student’s budget.  Living with her parents throughout college to avoid housing costs, Nicole pays for her own college tuition with assistance from scholarships and a Pell grant.  She works some 15 to 20 hours per week during the school semesters in a work study program that enables her to buy books and further contribute to her tuition bills.

The New Orleans home which Nicole Rodriquez insulated and drywalled with other student volunteers

With a dozen or so other student volunteers though HandsOn New Orleans, Nicole spent her first day in New Orleans  replanting trees in a swamp in a City which lost some half a billion trees to Hurricane Katrina. The remainder of the week was spent insulating and drywalling a new house for a woman who lost her home to the hurricane and returned to New Orleans for the first time since Katrina.

“It was a wonderful week for me!” reported Nicole, who had previously volunteered locally for Habitat For Humanity.  “I thoroughly enjoy this work because I believe having shelter is easily one of the most important things in life and being able to provide this for those who are less fortunate gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

 

[Help other students experience the gift of helping others and donate to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation.]

Related Links and Posts:

- 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

 

Scholarship Recipient Undergoes a Life Altering Experience Through Urban Poverty Trip

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

By Dianne L. Anderson

Amy Moore-Shipley, camera in hand

“My spring break was a life-altering experience founded in volunteering, education and social justice,” said Amy Moore- Shipley, who received a Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship to travel to Cincinnati on an urban poverty trip with a group of other students over spring break from college this year. The college students volunteered with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, in a City which ranks 7th in the nation for the highest percentage of residents living in poverty, and where some 7,000 residents are homeless. One out of every three children lives in poverty. The itinerary for the trip was filled with advocate speakers, interactive activities and volunteer work with those in need.

Moore-Shipley and her fellow student volunteers worked with preschoolers in a community center, served hundreds of meals in drop-in kitchens and cleaned up yards for low-income housing programs. The students also cooked for a family on a food stamp budget, navigated the city for resources for the homeless and created a mock drop-in shelter. (more…)

Scholarship Recipient Describes Her Experience as a “Defining Moment of My College Years”

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

YMCA Camp Campbell in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Jose, California

Abigail Lane, a student at the University of Colorado- Boulder,  received a Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship this past spring to travel  to and volunteer at YMCA Camp Campbell, an outdoor educational science camp for 5th graders in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Jose, California. In expressing her  deep gratitude to the Foundation for the weeklong  service opportunity, Abigail described the experience as “amazing” and “a  defining moment of my college years.”

All YMCA programs promote the four core values of the YMCA –  caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. The science education staffers believe that children are the key to the future, and that their understanding of nature and their wise use of our natural resources are essential to the well being of the environment.  The program strives to develop students’ awareness of their role in the environment, as well as their appreciation of the beauty of nature  Of course, it is a muti faceted learning opportunity for the volunteer counselors as well. (more…)

Alternative Breakers Receive Generous Scholarships

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Students performed dry wall work in New Orleans to help rebuild homes destroyed by Katrina

Not all college students spend their spring break basking in the sun, relaxing and partying. Some 130 students at the University of Colorado – Boulder choose an “Alternative Spring Break” and pile themselves into vans, travel to another part of the country and perform a week of community service. Among the multitude of   Alterative Spring Break trips, students have prepared and delivered food for the sick and disabled in NYC, helped rebuild homes for Katrina victims in New Orleans, worked to improve services for the homeless in Cincinnati  and dirtied their hands in an effort  to preserve a fragile island ecosystem off the coast of Los Angeles. (more…)

Foundation Awards Two Scholarships to 2011 Springfield High School Seniors

Monday, June 20th, 2011

SHS 2011 Scholarship Recipient Kelly O'Hara

SHS 2011 Scholarship Recipient Hayden Dahmm

The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation awarded two $1500 scholarships to Springfield High School (SHS) graduating seniors, Hayden Dahmm and Kelly O’Hara. The awards were presented by SHS teacher John Gildea and Casey Feldman’s parents, Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman at the SHS Senior Awards Ceremony. Both students were recommended  by SHS faculty members. Mr. Dahmm will be attending Swarthmore College in the fall with a dual major in Engineering and Public Policy. Ms. O’Hara will be attending Drexel University where she will major in Graphic Design.

In nominating Mr. Dahmm for the scholarship, Dr. William Harley  stated that, “Hayden is very mature and has learned to budget his time among extensive academic, community service, and leadership activities.” He has achieved a class rank in the ninety-eighth percentile of the SHS Class of 2011. Hayden is a member of the SHS chapter of the National Honor Society and was president of the SHS chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) during his Junior year. This past spring, he earned first place in the FBLA Regional Competition for Emerging Business Issues. In 2009, Hayden achieved sixth place State-Wide in the FBLA Public Speaking competition.

(more…)

PBA Local #61 and Bob’s Grill Award Ocean City High School Scholarships in Honor of Casey Feldman

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Shannon Allen, Stephanie Dennison, OCHS TV/Media teacher Gregory Wheeldon and OCPD TSU Supervisor Brian Hopely

Two scholarships totaling $500.00 were presented to Ocean City High School Seniors, Shannon Allen and Stephanie Dennison on June 8, 2011. The scholarships were sponsored by Bob’s Grill  (14th and the Boardwalk) in Ocean City and PBA Local #61.  Both students will graduate in June 2011 and they were awarded the scholarships for their work in the production of public safety messages addressing pedestrian safety and distracted driving.  The award is in honor of Casey Feldman who was tragically struck and killed by a distracted motorist in July 2009 while she was walking to work at Bob’s Grill in Ocean City.

Related Post:

Bob’s Grill and PBA Local #61 to offer scholarship in Casey’s name