Anna Hadjiyiannis – Peach Orchard to PIIE Scholarship

Thursday, January 13th, 2022

Anna Hadjiyiannis

By Mackenzie Eldred*

Anna Hadjiyiannis received the 2021 Casey Feldman Foundation PIIE Scholarship and was the third recipient to have selected an internship with the nonprofit, Chef Ann Foundation, whose mission was one Anna agreed with and stood by. Through the Casey Feldman Foundation’s Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE ) scholarship program, students receive funding for a summer internship for a governmental agency or non-profit organization. Based in Boulder, CO, the Chef Ann Foundation supports school districts throughout the country by providing the resources and funding needed to provide fresh, healthy meals in school.

The Chef Ann Foundation began about 10 years ago when Chef Ann Cooper began to notice the unhealthy lunches provided by schools during her time as the Director of Food Services for Boulder Valley School District. When Anna saw the foundation’s name listed on the CU PIIE internship list, she immediately applied because she knew she would be invested in their mission.

Currently a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder, Anna is majoring in elementary education with a minor in Spanish. Working at the Chef Ann Foundation as a School Food Reform intern allowed Anna to combine her interest in education and healthy food by providing opportunities to educate school food professionals and children about health.

“I genuinely was passionate about what they were doing,” Anna said. “It’s something I experience. It’s something I know. It’s something I do in my own life. So, I was just marrying all these important realms in my life in a very neat way.”

The peach orchard in spring on the western slope of Colorado in Palisade where Anna worked summers since the age of 15.

Food has always been a big part of Anna’s life as her mother has always emphasized the importance of nutrition. Working at a peach orchard and farmer’s market since the age of 15 has also allowed Anna to learn about agriculture and the importance of buying locally. Being a Colorado native, Anna was one of the first groups to see the effects of Boulder’s school food before Chef Ann stepped in to help.

“I actually can recall that switch,” Anna said. “So it was actually really important, really meaningful to me the fact that I got the internship in the first place.”

Anna’s supervisor, Emily Gallivan, director of programs, said Anna completed a variety of tasks for the Chef Ann Foundation during her internship. Her daily tasks included working on the organization’s impact and reach numbers, data analytics, summaries of the latest research on school food and graphic design work.

“Anna was a great asset to our team and brought a wonderful positive and can-do energy,” Emily said. “She was flexible when new projects came up or someone on the team needed more immediate help. She was very thoughtful about her work and always made sure to ask questions when she needed additional guidance or support. Her contributions allowed us to catch-up on many pieces that our team had more limited capacity for and to have more general support for our programs.”

Interning at the Chef Ann Foundation provided Anna with her first experience working in an office job. She learned how to work with different teams and communicate professionally over email, as well as learned how nonprofits work and what nonprofit outreach looks like.

After spending the summer interning for the Chef Ann Foundation, Anna believes she will seek a career as an elementary school teacher and will then pursue non-profit work or policy work surrounding education.

Read about some of our other PIIE scholarship recipients.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that other students may have the experience and non-profits the benefit, of a student internship.

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*Mackenzie Eldred is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she majors in journalism with a minor in English. She currently serves as a book editor for a remote publishing house, Dreaming Big Publications. With prior experience working as editor-in-chief for a school newspaper, Mackenzie hopes to pursue a career in writing and editing.

 

 

Eden Villalovas – Diversifying the Newsroom

Saturday, December 4th, 2021

Realizing a disproportionate representation of diverse voices in student journalism, Eden Villalovas felt compelled to pursue it as her major.

By Savannah Mather*

As the journalism field grows, many young reporters are faced with the challenges of adapting to the ever-changing standards of the modern day newsroom. One thing that has not changed, however, is an increase in diversity and representation within America’s mainstream news networks. Twenty-one year old Eden Villalovas, a Senior at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), is pursuing journalism to make a difference.

Casey Feldman Foundation Supports Journalism Students

Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman, founders of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation began awarding journalism students who hold unpaid internships with a scholarship stipend in an effort to support young journalists entering such a vital career field.  Eden received the Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship Stipend following her impressive experience as a managing editor for CU Boulder’s The Bold, a student-run news site, as well as for her Fall 2021 internship as an editorial writer at Denver’s Life Magazine.

Originally from San Diego, Eden came to CU Boulder in pursuit of new learning opportunities and experiences she otherwise would not have at home. When she first came to CU, she quickly realized that there was a lack of representation on campus. According to the 2020-2021 Regent Diversity Report for CU Boulder’s student demographics, 32% of undergraduate students are of color. Eden felt as though she could use journalism as a platform to speak up for students of color on campus, and add more representation in student news.

“I came to CU and it was the first time in my life that I felt like a minority. Coming from San Diego, I was constantly surrounded by diversity and different cultures,” Eden said.

Lack of Diversity Among Student Journalists

When Eden first came to CU Boulder, however, she said she wasn’t sure if she was going to stick with journalism. It wasn’t until she realized there was a disproportionate representation of diverse voices in student journalism, that Eden felt like she had to pursue it as her major.

“Coming to Colorado, and to CU in particular, I realized I’m a minority and people view me as a minority, and I thought that there was such a lack of minority journalists,” Eden recalled,

“I was in a position of privilege where I could speak for underrepresented communities.”

From there, Eden’s journalism experience blossomed into so much more than she could have imagined. Starting her sophomore year, Eden was one of the founding writers for The Bold, and continues to write articles focused on politics, social equity, and breaking news.

“It felt so good to be around such like-minded people and people who cared about the same issues that I did, especially student journalism in particular,” Eden said.

This past year, Eden was named a managing editor for the student publication, and said that this role strengthened her leadership skills and provided her with experience to grow as a young professional journalist in more ways than she could get simply from reporting classes.

This fall semester, Eden is also interning at Denver Life Magazine, a publication that features stories on the arts, travel, style, food, and lifestyle. Eden is an editorial intern, writing her own pieces as well as fact-checking and editing freelance stories for grammar and content.

Throughout her experience as a journalism student, writing for The Bold, and as an editorial intern, Eden realized how important it is to support young journalists, especially those who add more diversity in the field.

Journalism at a Turning Point

“I think journalism right now is at a really big turning point, where the average citizen distrusts the media so much. Journalism has [also]  failed underrepresented groups, and that’s why there is such a distrust in the media because there is also such a lack of diverse voices in journalism,” Eden said, “ I really want to bring back that trust and I think that starts with diversifying the newsroom.”

When Eden isn’t writing for CU’s The Bold or at her internship in Denver, she enjoys writing, reading, and stays active with a routine running schedule. Her interest in politics and social change also led to a desire to one be a reporter for the White House after she interned for a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. over the Summer.

“I think working in Washington D.C. has always been a goal of mine, and that didn’t really happen until this past year when I had an internship in D.C. It just made me realize how important journalism is in D.C. in particular,” Eden said.

Thanks to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation scholarship stipend, Eden said that she found more of a purpose in pursuing journalism, and that it is extremely rewarding to feel like young journalists are being recognized and supported.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation to provide additional journalism students with funding for an unpaid internship

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Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship Recipient Dylan Mark Pays it Forward

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

By Isabella Scipioni*

Dylan Mark and Elizabeth Skewes (Dept. of Journalism Chair, CU) with Casey Feldman Foundation founders Joel Feldman (L) and Dianne Anderson (R) meeting this summer to discuss the Foundation’s new journalism scholarship program

Each year, the Casey Feldman Foundation awards a scholarship to  students in the University of Colorado-Boulder Public Interest Internship Experience (CU PIIE), providing the funds to receive a salary for an otherwise unpaid internship at a public service agency or non-profit. The 2012 recipient, Dylan Mark, was unable to take an unpaid internship at the time, but the Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship gave him the opportunity to accept a position he otherwise could not have taken.

Non-Profits Generally Don’t Offer Paid Internships

“Non-profits at that time especially had a ton of unpaid internships, and it was really uncommon for a paid internship to be in that space. The Casey Feldman Foundation and Joel and Dianne Anderson enabled me to be able to participate in the internship,” said Mark.

Dylan accepted a position at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which shelters 7,000 animals each year. He had a rotational experience at the shelter and was able to work in multiple areas including the vet clinic, the front desk, animal intake, and adoptions. After completing his internship, Dylan was given a new career opportunity at CU Boulder.

Casey Feldman Foundation Supported Internship Leads to Full Time Position

Dylan Mark (R) in 2015 at the Feldman home with Casey Feldman Foundation PIIE scholarship recipients Colin Mayberry (2013, Nature Conservancy) and Ramya Palaniappan (2015, Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center)

“I got an internship with Career Services that eventually led to my job, so I can say for certain that without this internship that I wouldn’t have been able to get to where I am now,” said Mark.

Dylan was offered a full-time position in the Career Services office after graduating, and he currently serves as the Program Manager for Professional Experiences at CU Boulder. He now works with students and employers to ensure that students feel prepared for their careers ahead of them and can get valuable work experience while still in college. In this position, Dylan gets to carry on the CU PIIE value of helping people in his community.

“I get to do work every day that benefits the world and benefits others,” said Mark.

Dylan received a BA in Sociology with a minor in Religious Studies from CU Boulder in 2013, and this winter, he will graduate with an MS in Marketing from CU Denver. Dylan credits working at the University as the reason he went back to school, saying that the encouragement and tuition benefits offered to employees ultimately led to his decision. Dylan plans on evaluating his skillset over the next few years and figuring out what his next career move will be.

To Make the World a Better Place

Dylan with his painting of “The Flatirons”

“I know that wherever I work, whether it be for a non-profit or a for-profit, I want to have a community, social, or environmental impact on the world around me. I just want to be able to influence the world to be a better place,” said Mark.

Dylan is also doing just that through the vibrant and colorful artwork that he makes in his spare time, believing “that art should be something that creates community and supports others.” A percentage of any art that he sells is donated to charity. Currently, 100% of his sales on prints through his Etsy shop is going to Direct Relief, a charity that serves in emergency situations around the world.

Mark and his wife are also expecting their first child, and they plan on taking this time to reflect on their careers and enjoy this exciting new experience. Dylan is excited to see what the future holds for him and is grateful to be a Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship recipient.

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Read about some of our other PIIE scholarship recipients.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that other students may have the experience and non-profits the benefit, of a student internship.

*Isabella Scipioni is a sophomore at Fordham University Lincoln Center and is majoring in political science. She is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is currently an Assistant Social Media Editor for the Fordham Observer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to First Generation Foundation Scholarship Recipient

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Kylie Davis on graduation day from CU

By Dianne Anderson*

The Casey Feldman Foundation is proud of all of it’s scholarship recipients, especially those who are first generation college students and in particular, Kylie Davis who just graduated this year from the University of Colorado Boulder. Kyle earned 2 degrees at graduation, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and also a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Kylie worked 35 hours per week at 3 different jobs to finance her education and make ends meet. Despite her schedule, she made time to give back through community service.

Kyle has moved to Chicago to work as an Assistant Lab Manager on the Center for Decision Research team at the University of Chicago Booth. “Both of my degrees have granted me the opportunity to start a career that I am passionate about. As a child, I wanted to understand the world on a deeper level, and now it will be my career to ask questions and seek out answers….This role will allow me to live out my research dreams,” says Kylie.

However, this won’t be the end of Kylie’s formal education. Her future plans include going back to school to earn a Ph.D.

Congratulations Kylie!

Related Links:

First Generation College Student Awarded Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship

DONATE so that we may continue to reward additional first generation students like Kylie and make a difference in their lives  in Casey’s memory.

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Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

*Dianne Anderson is the mother of the late Casey Feldman and co-founder of the The Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project, EndDD.org.

Casey Feldman Foundation Awards First CU Journalism Scholarship to Savannah Mather

Monday, July 5th, 2021

Savannah Mather

By Samantha Matthews*

Savannah Mather believes in the importance of creating an informed society. Savannah, who is a rising senior at The University of Colorado, Boulder, (CU Boulder) has received the first Casey Feldman Foundation  Scholarship Stipend for journalism students. The endowment at CU was originally established to provide a stipend for computer science students to provide IT work for a nonprofit , but Dianne Anderson, cofounder of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation stated  that it was time for a change.

“It was a wonderful goal to introduce computer science students to the nonprofit world and at the same time aid small nonprofits. However, We had waning interest from computer science students presumably because they had no problem finding well paid internships. It seemed quite natural to change the endowment to support journalism students given Casey’s passion for journalism and the critical need at this time to support those who have chosen this career path. Casey believed the press plays a critical role in our society and we do as well,” Dianne said. 

Savannah couldn’t agree more with Casey that the press is an integral facet of society. Ever since kindergarten, Savannah has known she wanted to be a writer and tell other people’s stories. However, it wasn’t until high school that she discovered what she truly wanted to write about. “My junior year of high school, I took an AP environmental science class and I absolutely fell in love with it,” Savannah said. “I loved everything about environmentalism, conservation, sustainability, and ecology.”

As soon as Savannah arrived at CU Boulder she decided to combine her passion for the environment with her love of writing and declared herself as a journalism major and geography minor. This was the start of her journey towards becoming an environmental journalist. Savannah feels as though journalism, specifically that relating to the environment, is an essential function of democracy.

Savannah reflected, “Journalism is more important now than ever. Unfortunately, we live in an age of misinformation that is spread so easily, and is threatening to journalism as a function of democracy.” She continued that she hopes to be a journalist reporting accurate information on matters like climate change and make it available to the larger public to create a sense of greater understanding.

“Environmentalism and climate change is such a complex topic,  and with the amount of science and research that we have, it’s so hard to disseminate that information and make it digestible to a general audience. But it’s really important because there are things happening right now in front of our eyes that are extremely threatening to our environment,” Savannah said.

During her time at CU Boulder, Savannah was able to join their student-run newspaper, The CU Independent. She joined the opinions section her freshman year, and took her time to define her niche in the paper as an environmental journalist. This past fall, Savannah wrote an article about the struggles between safety and sustainability amid the pandemic and the increase of single-use waste. 

To Dianne, Savannah stood out among the rest of the applicants. “We loved that Savannah jumped right into writing for the university newspaper as a freshman and quickly became an editor by her sophomore year, like Casey did at Fordham. During this critical time of climate change we were thrilled to have an applicant who also has a background in science and aspires to become an environmental journalist. That she also had written about social justice justices issues sealed the deal so to speak!”

While Savannah spends most of her time appreciating and fighting for nature through the words in her articles, she also loves to spend her free time outdoors. An avid snowboarder, watersports player, and hiker, she climbed her first fourteener mountain, one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, last year.  

Professionally, Savannah has just completed an internship for Kurani, an architecture firm devoted to solving the world’s biggest problems through architecture. According to their website, their designs like literacy lounges and Black arts centers help “improve conditions for education, the environment, immigrants, poverty, social justice, wellness and women around the world.” 

Savannah found her time at Kurani as a journalism intern to be extremely rewarding and surprisingly impactful. “While architecture may not fit into the realm of environmentalism that I want to pursue, this internship has taught me that public spaces have just as much of an impact in how we interact, respect, and utilize the environment both inside and outside,” she revealed. 

Looking into how we utilize the Earth’s resources and how that can in turn, aid public service, sustainability, and social justice initiatives, has helped Savannah create a more nuanced perspective on what it means to be a journalist. 

Savannah hopes to implement the important lessons she has learned from her internship after she graduates from CU Boulder this fall. She dreams of travelling to all the amazing places the world has to offer while advocating for the environment as a journalist. A few of her biggest aspirations are to one day have her own podcast and work on a National Geographic environmental documentary. 

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Read about our Computer Science Stipend Recipients

View all of our scholarships and gifts 

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that we may continue to recognize and award outstanding students with scholarships

*Samantha Matthews is a sophomore at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where she majors in Communications and Media Studies. She currently serves as the Features Editor at the Fordham Observer, and one day hopes to go to law school.

 

One Meal at a Time, 2020 PIIE Scholarship Recipient Ally Faller, is Changing Boulder

Monday, April 5th, 2021

By Samantha Matthews*

Ally Faller is charting her own path — turning a summer internship at Meals on Wheels into a career. The recent University of Colorado Boulder (CU) graduate plans to use her dual degrees in Creative Technologies and Design and English to fight food insecurity.

Ally, the recipient of CU’s 2020 Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship, is now working full time as a marketing and communications associate at the non-profit organization. In her position, which she began after her December 2020 graduation, Ally works on graphic design projects and heads the client acquisition campaign designed to spread awareness about the services Meals on Wheels offers to help a greater number of people in the Boulder, Colorado, area.

“Meals on Wheels is not a service you can only use when you’re in the worst situation of your entire life,” she said. “We can serve anyone who needs a little extra help.”

Ally Faller

 

When deciding between Meals and Wheels and one other organization for her PIIE application, the food non-profit struck an intense personal chord.

Ally, who is in recovery from an eating disorder she faced freshman year of college, says the experience left her with strong feelings about fighting food insecurity — a problem that affects nearly 54 million people in the United States. 

“When I first saw Meals on Wheels, I thought about how there are people in my community who do not have enough to eat and who feel invisible and unloved and uncared for,” she said. “Because of my own personal history, I felt like I could definitely care very, very deeply about the work that I would do with that organization.”

Meals on Wheels Boulder provides daily well-being checks and delivers nutritionally balanced, high-quality meals to any person, regardless of age or income, in the Boulder City area who might not otherwise have access to healthy food or a friendly face. 

As an intern at Meals on Wheels, Ally worked in the marketing and communications department where she was able to use her ingenuity as a graphic designer. 

“Ally is creative, dependable, and highly motivated,” Ally’s supervisor, Kate Laubacher, said. “She takes initiative and jumps into new projects with enthusiasm.” Those initiatives included designing a newsletter for the organization’s mailing list and refreshing its photo bank with pictures of meals. 

Ally calls her internship a transformative experience. “When I first started I was thinking about people in need as an abstract,” she said. Seeing how much empathy the volunteers feel for clients, and how much care goes into every meal made Ally realize how her job changes the lives of the people who use the non-profit’s services.

Graduating amid a pandemic, Ally said she is incredibly grateful for the Casey Feldman Memorial PIIE scholarship, which provides students a stipend to work with a non-profit or government agency for the summer.

“I, like many other students, can’t work a summer job for free, and it’s really hard to work for a nonprofit and get paid, especially as an intern,” she said. “Having this scholarship permitted me to take that internship and then in turn, that internship got me a full time job in a very difficult job market right after graduating.”

Despite her own experience working with a non-profit, Ally says working with a philanthropic organization isn’t the only way to make a difference.

“There are a lot of ways to improve the world, and a lot of that is making people feel seen,” she said. “Starting to help in any capacity starts with the simplest things like making eye contact with people on public transportation or smiling at people you pass on the street, and then moving from on from there.

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*Samantha Matthews is a sophomore at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, where she majors in Communications and Media Studies. She currently serves as the Features Editor at the Fordham Observer, and one day hopes to go to law school.

 

 

First Generation College Student Awarded Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship

Friday, November 1st, 2019

Compassion and kindness is something that Kylie Davis strives to exhibit throughout her life.

By Melanie Riehl

First-generation college student Kylie Davis is one of this year’s Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipients. An undergraduate at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), Kylie works 35 hours per week at 3 different jobs to finance her education and make ends meet. Despite juggling her course work and jobs, Kylie still manages to make the time to  participate in community service — a love of hers that stems from childhood.

Dedication to Community Service Instilled at a Young Age

From a young age, Kylie’s parents instilled generosity and empathy in her, dedicating their family to community service. She volunteered with them at a soup kitchen growing up, especially helping out during the winter months where more people in need would come in search of food and warmth. Kylie strongly values her community and shows her gratitude by giving back, saying, “My tie to my community is one of my many drivers. My parents taught me the importance of compassion and kindness and it is now something I strive to exhibit throughout my life, whether it be in the workplace or in my personal life.”

Service Work at CU

Kylie carried her commitment to giving back with her when she began her college career, taking on a role as a peer mentor as well as being a youth counselor for low-income middle school students. As a peer mentor through the Diverse Scholars Program at CU, Kylie guided freshmen through the trials and tribulations of their first year of college. She also helped organize community-building events as well as made significant efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all at CU. As a youth counselor, she taught middle schoolers basic accounting and finance, seeing herself reflected in the students and hoping to set an example for them to look up to. One of her goals is “to inspire and aid the success of others,” which she excelled at in these roles.

Alternative Spring Break to Teach Earth Science to 5th Graders

Kylie’s philanthropic spirit led her to apply for a Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship, where she was given the opportunity to travel outside of Colorado and engage in service work over her one week off from college in the spring. Kylie’s Alternative Spring Break took her to YMCA Camp Campbell in California where she taught earth science to fifth graders.  She was responsible for not only educating these students, but for establishing an engaging and safe environment for them, as the program is part of a sleep-away camp. She reflected on this experience, saying, “It had an incredible impact on me. Each of the ten kids I looked after really made a long-lasting impact on me.” This opportunity took her passion for mentorship to new heights, and she looks back on it fondly, saying, “Each child I spent the week with had such a unique personality, and it was so rewarding to get to know them.”

It is our privilege to reward students like Kylie with scholarships to follow their passion for community service and take part in a unique opportunity they would not otherwise be able to afford.

[Read about some of our past Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients]

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*Melanie Riehl is a sophomore Communications and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. She serves as a Copy Editor on the executive board of Fordham’s student newspaper, The Observer.

A Summer at the Chef Ann Foundation: What One Intern Learned

Friday, September 6th, 2019

For the second year in a row, the Casey Feldman Foundation has sponsored a summer intern at the Chef Ann Foundation. Learn why Ally Roberts chose to be a School Food Reform Intern and what she learned during her stay this summer.

By Allison Roberts, School Food Reform Intern, Summer 2019

Growing up, I remember food made me feel lethargic, bloated, and anything but energized. Following the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I discovered a slew of food allergies and sensitivities that, once I took into account (in conjunction with eating healthier, whole foods), transformed both my physical and mental health. This realization of the stark correlation between physical and mental health fueled my decision to study Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. When I learned about the Chef Ann Foundation (CAF) through CU’s Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) program, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to explore the nonprofit world, learn the intricacies of school food, and gain a deeper understanding of the undeniable impact food can have on the minds and bodies of children.

I quickly learned that the school food world is complex, multifaceted, and also a really exciting place for innovation and positive change. Through programs like Get Schools CookingSalad Bars to Schools, and the School Food Institute, CAF sits in a unique niche area of school food reform, with a focus on working with food service directors and staff to implement sustainable changes to their procurement practices, finances, marketing, and more—all to provide kids with access to healthier, scratch-cooked food.

Throughout my role as the School Food Reform Intern, I hoped to challenge myself and learn as much as possible about the nonprofit sector and more specifically the Chef Ann Foundation. With a group of passionate, unyielding, caring, and driven co-workers, it was easy to dive in to projects and help out in any way I could. To highlight a few specific experiences: it was incredibly rewarding to help integrate Spanish subtitles into our current School Food Institute online courses, as this will be a huge step in increasing accessibility for school food workers who speak Spanish. Additionally, my work with the development team on our Real School Food Challenge event not only taught me valuable skills in outreach and event logistics, but showed me the power of generosity and how communal support is integral to deep-seated change. Outside the office, I had the privilege of sitting in on our board meeting at the Google campus, attending a conference on Youth Health Policy and Wellness, learning more about Slow Food, and spreading the word about CAF at the Colorado School Nutrition Association conference.

Without the support of the Casey Feldman Foundation through the CU PIIE program, and the incredible people working at CAF, such a transformative, growth-filled and unique experience would not have been possible. After 12 weeks at the Chef Ann Foundation, the correlation I see between child nutrition, child health, and performance in school has been further solidified. When children eat calorie-dense, yet nutrient-deficient meals, their concentration, grades, and mood are all compromised. It is imperative to have organizations like the Chef Ann Foundation to lay the foundational groundwork for better school food practices. This summer allowed me to see the complexities of school food and both how far we have come and how far we still have to go. Here’s to healthier minds and bodies for children!

Ally Roberts with Casey Feldman Foundation founders Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson at the PIIE recognition dinner in August

My Memorable Internship Experience Made Possible by the Casey Feldman Foundation

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

By Heidi Stimac

For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in working in the nonprofit sector. I love the idea that my professional work could contribute to improving the lives of others but, had no idea how to get my foot in the door. So when I heard about the Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) program at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) my junior year, I was excited to say the least. The PIIE program at CU is a competitive one where students apply to the program, and if accepted, they get matched with a nonprofit or government agency for a summer internship. I learned about the program only a couple of days before the 2018 application deadline and luckily I was accepted and matched up with my first choice organization, the Chef Ann Foundation. All of the organizations with which PIIE students are matched do not have the resources to pay a student intern and funding from the Casey Feldman Foundation enabled me to be paid for my work at this tremendous organization.

The Chef Ann Foundation is a Boulder-based nonprofit that provides schools with tools, resources, and grants that help them provide healthy and scratch-cooked meals to their students. I remember feeling so lucky that I was able to intern at an organization with such an amazing mission, and I have the PIIE program and the Casey Feldman Foundation to thank! During my time at Chef Ann, I got to work events, write blogs, do research, compile data, and so much more. While I am so grateful for the professional skills and tools I learned during my time at Chef Ann, I am even more grateful to have been a part of such an incredible team at the organization.

While the Chef Ann Foundation has national reach with programs in all 50 states, the team is relatively small. We had between 7-9 employees working out of our office at any given time. But while the team was small in numbers, it was big in heart. The folks at Chef Ann worked tirelessly to achieve the mission of the organization. I was consistently inspired by the tenacity of my small group of coworkers. Their ability to think big and commit themselves to the mission was something I doubt I’ll ever forget. Chef Ann Foundation became a family to me. My internship started out as a summer gig through the PIIE program, but as the end of last summer approached I was asked to stay on as a part-time intern during my senior year at CU Boulder.

In my nine months at Chef Ann Foundation, I learned more than I ever thought I would. I came away from my internship their with a deep understanding of the type of professional environment I want to be part of in the future. At Chef Ann, we lifted each other up, encouraged each other, and worked toward a common goal. I could not have asked for more from my summer internship at Chef Ann Foundation.

This fall, I am heading off to King’s College London to pursue a Master’s degree in Emerging Economies and International Development. I’m not sure where this new endeavor will take me professionally, but I know that when I begin the career search, I’ll be looking for an environment like that of the Chef Ann Foundation. I can’t thank the PIIE program and the Casey Feldman Foundation enough for making this experience possible for me!

With the Chef Ann Foundation team on the last day of my internship

 

 

My Alternative Spring Break in New Orleans – A Rewarding and Unforgettable Experience

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

By Tim Inthavong*

My fellow CU volunteers and I while working with Common Ground Relief

There are significant moments that change a person’s life and how they view the world, and my Alternative Spring Break trip to New Orleans was an unforgettable experience that I will remember forever. I am truly grateful to the Casey Feldman Foundation for funding my trip with a scholarship stipend which enabled me to volunteer to help a community and environment in need.

At the outset, my fellow volunteer students and I from the University of Colorado Boulder worked with the nonprofit, Common Ground Relief  headquartered in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Founded initially in 2005 to provide disaster relief following Hurricane Katrina, Common Ground has since revised it’s mission to reflect a forward-looking focus to restore and preserve Louisiana’s disappearing coastal wetlands. Wetlands are crucial to prevent flooding since they hold water much like a sponge, helping to keep river waters normal, and slowly releasing water when levels are low. In addition to many other benefits, the wetlands provide a habitat for a diverse group of wildlife.

After being introduced to the environmental issues affecting the Lower Ninth Ward community due to Hurricane Katrina, our group worked at a plant nursery where we watered and removed weeds from bull grasses that would be used to restore the wetlands. My favorite and most rewarding  experience was then actually planting the bull grasses onto the wetland floor.

In the wetlands where we worked to plant bull grasses

At first, I felt uncomfortable and was in fact, very nervous to physically plant them. I worried about the difficulty in moving through all of the thick algae and the uncertainty as to how deep I was swimming. I continued however, and planted the grasses. I felt great satisfaction afterwards in knowing that I had contributed to helping to restore the wetlands and mitigate the effects of a future hurricane on the people of New Orleans. The experience had another strong impact on me as well, in that it served as a learning opportunity.  I realized that it’s okay to be scared in a new and uncomfortable situation and that by proceeding in the face of it, I can conquer that fear.

My group also performed volunteer work at Crevasse 22, an indoor and outdoor art exhibit with an ecological theme.  It sits in a natural area of forests and marshes and contains a deep lake, created by a crevasse, or breach in the levee in 1922.  It is steps away from the Mississippi River and borders St. Bernard State Park. Our work there was to uproot and get rid of  invasive plants damaging the natural habitat of wildlife. This service that was done was the most difficult, but it was extremely rewarding to know that our work was supporting a safe environment for animals to live and grow their population. I thought of Casey Feldman and her love of animals and how my work there was made possible through the Foundation established in her memory. It was deeply gratifying knowing that I was honoring and continuing her legacy.

My Alternative Spring Break trip also afforded me the opportunity to create and build new relationships.  My group and I traveled together in a van for 40 hours round-trip from Boulder, Colorado and lived and worked together the entire week. I did not know any of my fellow volunteers when the trip began, but, by the end of the week, I had 15 close friends  –  David Ruin, Julia Book, Tyler Ennis, Danya Arie, Diantha McAllister, Elise Warnock, Emma Blanken, Feben Kassahun, Hiba Abdali, Jose Canizares, Julia Smith, Maggie Hearn, Marissa Kelly, Mohammed, Pujan Tandukar, Vladimir Brizuela. Without them, the service week would not have been as enriching an experience.

I came into this trip far from my community in Westminster, Colorado not knowing much about the environmental issues facing the people of New Orleans and it’s wildlife habitat. But, by at the end of the week, I had gained so much knowledge about the issues facing the people of Louisiana 12 years after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.

As I get older and look back at this trip, I can say “I really made in impact on others.”  It makes me smile to know that I made a difference through an experience that I was able to share with others. Above the clouds, I picture Casey Feldman smiling too.

On the site of Crevasse 22 where we worked to remove invasive species

In the forest at Crevasse 22

 

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*Tim Inthavong just completed his junior year at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is studying economics and business and would like to work  for a hospital as a health administrator after graduating. He is one of five children of a single refugee mother whom he has worked to support in and around his studies and volunteer work.