By Dianne L. Anderson
Last month, students from the University of Colorado at Boulder spent their spring break doing service through the Alternative Spring Break program. These students used their weeklong vacation time to travel to different areas of the country to volunteer with various nonprofit organizations. This opportunity was provided to five students through scholarship stipends from the Casey Feldman Foundation. Read their stories:
Mikaela Aroff– A senior, Mikaela is double majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies and is dedicated to pursuing a career in saving the environment for animals and protecting their habitat. Despite loosing her parents at the age of 14, this young woman has surged forward. Mikaela has done work with turtle conservation and fish behavior, as well as recycling, through her employment with the CU Intermediate Unit. Mikaela currently works on campus with the Dennis Small Cultural Center, planning events focused around social justice and promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Mikaela spent her spring break in Moab, Utah with the nonprofit organization, Plateau Restoration.org working on habitat restoration, re-vegetation, erosion control, and exotic species removal.
Lee Phan- Lee’s immigrant parents came to this country with only the clothes on their back. While Lee experienced a childhood with a loving family, sometimes there was a shortage of the basics, including food on the table. Paying for college on her own, Lee has also found the time to include volunteer work in her schedule, reporting, “It is among my passion to give back to the underprivileged.” Lee utilized her scholarship stipend to spend her spring week in San Francisco volunteering with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the underprivileged. Lee’s time was also spent exploring related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.
Charlotte Thompson- Charlotte works at the CU Volunteer Resource Center and hopes, upon graduation, to find work with a non-profit which addresses a social or environmental issue. Charlotte has spent much of her young life helping others through service work, reporting that her passion for volunteering all started during her 12 years as a girl scout. Charlotte spent her alternative spring break week in Cincinnati addressing urban poverty and homelessness while working with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. ”The issue of homelessness and poverty is an issue that I hope to help fix,” reports Charlotte.
Hailey DiRenzo- Hailey spent her spring break working with children in Atlanta, Georgia with the Medici Project in an area where 50% of the children do not graduate from high school. She is devoted to helping children learn the value of an education and to making youth feel empowered. “I want kids to understand and feel that no matter where they come from or what amount of money they have, they have the ability to do anything they really want to”, said Hailey. Hailey also works two part time jobs in addition to volunteering her time with youth in Boulder and ultimately hopes to go to law school and perform public service law.
Kailee Caranta– A sophomore environmental studies major, Kailee works two jobs to help put herself through college and performs service work, including serving breakfast every other Saturday at the North Boulder Homeless Shelter. Growing up in a family where alcoholism and addiction was an issue, new clothes and luxuries did not come often. Kailee has recognized that homelessness is not just something that can happen to other people. Kailee sees medical school as an ultimate goal, wanting to be a DO and specialize as an OBGYN, “Because I am a woman wanting to help other women.” Kailee spent her spring break week in San Francisco, as did Lee Phan, on a nutrition and wellness week working with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the needy, as she explored related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.
Way to go 2013 Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipients!
Please contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional deserving students may experience the joy of community service.
- “For some CU-Boulder students, spring break a chance to do good”, by Brittany Anas, The Daily Camera, 3-22-2013
- 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