Bryan O’Hagan is Awarded the Latest Computer Science Scholarship to Aid a Non-Profit

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Morgan Steward*

Bryan O'Hagan (seated center) with Casey's parents and Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients Cynthia Mendoza (R) and Katie Heinen

Bryan O”Hagan (seated center) with Casey’s parents and Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients Cynthia Mendoza (R) and Katie Heinen

Bryan O’Hagan, a University of Colorado Boulder student, is the latest recipient of a Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation computer science scholarship. The scholarship provides a stipend to a student to provide computer and IT services to a non-profit organization which does not  have the funds necessary to meet the technology needs necessary to advance their mission. It gives the student the opportunity to practice his or her computer science and IT skills in a real-world setting and at the same time, experience the joy of community service.

“I enjoy working for organizations that promote a strong social cause,” O’Hagan explained. This is what initially enticed him to apply for the Foundation’s computer science scholarship in the first place.

O’Hagan first became interested in computer programming and web development after taking a course in the subject at the University of Colorado. “I instantly fell in love [with] the endless possibilities a developer can create on the web,” O’Hagan explained. With this newfound passion discovered, he then became determined to find an internship in the field in an effort to continue to develop the skills he learned in this class.

O’Hagan chose to work for Natural Capitalism Solutions, a company that educates senior decision-makers in business, government and civil society about the principles of sustainability.  The Longmont, Colorado company does this by creating practical tools and simple implementation strategies for companies, communities and countries.

During his internship, O’Hagan was able to learn several valuable industry skills. “I was able to learn so much,” O’Hagan explained. “I [got] a better understanding of industry tools, coding languages, and web development techniques.”

However, O’Hagan also learned a different valuable skill set: communication skills. Through this position, O’Hagan was charged with working directly with clients to provide them the technological services they required. “This was my first experience where I had to work with a client,” he said. “I enjoyed the process of brainstorming ideas, creating a plan, and finally creating a website that both the customer and I enjoyed.”

In total, O’Hagan redesigned three of Natural Capitalism Solution’s websites—a task that the company would not have been able to do without him.

Participating in this program made O’Hagan realize that he wished to pursue web development and computer services as a career after he graduates from the University of Colorado Boulder.

“The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Computer Science Program is one of the highlights of my college career,” O’Hagan said. “I hope other students can find their passion through this program.”

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morgan-steward2-1-150x150*Morgan Steward is a sophomore Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media.

“It’s a Great Day to Be Alive…” Cynthia Mendoza, 2016 Foundation Scholarship Recipient

Monday, November 14th, 2016

By Morgan Steward

Cynthia MendozaCynthia Mendoza seems to have her life figured out. A 2016 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Mendoza obtained a certificate in public health while double majoring in both Integrative Physiology and Psychology and is currently in the process of applying to dental school. But what ties these four fields together? Mendoza’s desire to make a difference in her community and help others. This passion made Mendoza the perfect recipient of the 2016 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship.

Growing up in a household where her father worked two jobs while her mother stayed at home and cared for the kids, Mendoza was aware that money was always tight, yet never felt as if she was missing anything. “I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving family where not having much really did not feel like a burden. Growing up in a low-income family made me appreciate everything and not take anything for granted,” Mendoza explained.

Although this situation forced Mendoza to grow up quickly, it left her able to truly understand and appreciate all that she had in life. “… Everything has taught me something special. I have strong values that are so important to me, such as the importance of giving, loving and caring for others—things that I would have not really understood if it was not for my upbringing.”

Choosing to live life by the philosophy that “It’s a great day to be alive,” Mendoza  tries to “take every day as a blessing.” It was this mantra, in conjunction with her upbringing that influenced Mendoza to want to spend the rest of her life serving others.

Her career of service began in college, where she served as a medical assistant, phlebotomy tech in the university’s medical clinic, and Co-President of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority Inc., a sorority which helps promote education and community service. “The ability to be part of people’s memories and help influence them to help their communities, like I was, is something I hope to do for others,” Mendoza explained. “[The] little things may be the biggest impact people will hold in their hearts for a lifetime.”

When Mendoza applied for the 2016 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship, her  genuine love for serving others made her the ideal candidate. With the scholarship, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta, Georgia, volunteering with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, an organization which is devoted to improving the quality of life for individuals affected with HIV/AIDS in communities with limited resources.

“My time in Atlanta left a huge mark in my heart,” Mendoza explained.  “I learned so much from this wonderful experience!” The week-long service trip was spent doing a variety of tasks including making and distributing HIV kits to impoverished neighborhoods, informing individuals how to prevent spreading and contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and assisting in needle exchanges. Volunteers were also able to go on tours of Aid Atlanta and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about the issues plaguing not only Atlanta, but the rest of the world.

“[The trip] greatly reinforced my commitment to work in the healthcare field,” Mendoza said. “I am very passionate about health and helping different communities with health disparities seen worldwide. I… hope to one day apply what I have learned to socially disadvantaged populations.”

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morgan-steward2-1-150x150Morgan Steward is a sophomore Communication and Media Studies student at Fordham University at Lincoln Center (Casey’s alma mater). Born in Beaumont, TX, she to moved to New York City to pursue a career in the media.

 

 

“ I want to help others in any way that I can” – Vi-Thuy Vo, Scholarship Recipient

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

By Adriana Gallina*

Thuyvi VoVi-Thuy Vo is currently a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder. While she is still deciding whether to go into high school counseling or join the public health field, there’s one thing she is sure about: “What I want to actually do in life, is help others in any way that I can.”

“I am proud to be a first generation student who works hard to create my own path for success in my family,” Vi-Thuy wrote. While she loves her family and continues to be a role model for her sister thirteen years her junior, she is financially independent.

Her selflessness and devotion to serving others is what made this psychology major the perfect recipient for the 2015 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship. The scholarship allowed her to take part in the Harm Reduction: Promoting Health and Prevention Trip based in Atlanta Georgia.

Receiving this scholarship helped relieve some of the monetary burden of volunteering and allowed her to “provide direct service to those who need it most.”

On her trip she worked with four groups, one being the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another group was Aniz, Inc, which offers support, counseling and HIV testing to those in need. Ana’s spring break trip also took her to the the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC) a wellness organization that focuses on the health of marginalized communities and  the Shepard Center, a rehabilitation center that helps people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease.

Vi-Thuy was most excited to work in a new environment with people from diverse backgrounds.

She learned a lot from the Shephard Center about how to interact and work with people with disabilities. “Alternative Breaks definitely made me appreciate how privileged I am,” Vi-Thuy said.

“I worked with two different communities in Atlanta to reduce harm especially with sexual health disparities, which include HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, Hepatitis and other diseases,” she said.

“Working with the AHRC, I learned so much more about public health in different environments and how important it is to adapt to that environment and community you’re working with,”  Vi-Thuy said.

“Being on this trip also reminded me about the different levels people are at and how important it is to be mindful and use all-inclusive language,” she reflected.

Vi-Thuy said she came back from this trip with much more knowledge and a new appreciation for the communities she is a part of.

With this experience, she pledged, “I will continue to help promote and educate the health and wellness topics that matter to our community here at Boulder.”

At Boulder, she continues her work at Community Health, which is the public health division of Wardenburg Health Center which provides health care for all CU students.

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

Related Links:

Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back –  Nov 2014, Casey Feldman Foundation

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down for all articles)

Vi-Thuy Vo and her fellow CU students at the Center fo Disease Control in Atlanta

Vi-Thuy Vo and her fellow CU students at the Center fo Disease Control in Atlanta

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Adriana Gallina updated*Adriana Gallina is currently studying Journalism at Fordham College Lincoln Center on a scholarship. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award winning paper, The Fordham Observer, while working full time to support herself in New York City.

Freda Fosu: Working Towards a Homeless Free America

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

By Adriana Gallina and Amber Staska *

Freda Fosu

Freda Fosu

Freda Odei Fosu is one of those rare individuals who genuinely inspires others to remain optimistic despite life’s hardship. Through her own moments of adversity, she never once turned down an opportunity to give back to her community–even in times where she could have used the help herself.

“Since I can relate to people in unfortunate circumstances so well, I’m empathetic to their situations and have the compassion and dedication to offer help,” Freda said. Her empathy and dedication to others is what made her stand out as a recipient of the 2015 Alternative Spring Break scholarship made possible by the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Freda moved to New York City in 2009 from Ghana, where she then resided in a homeless shelter with her family. “I experienced lots of hardships during this time, in extreme poverty [which made] basic needs hard to afford and exposed me to lots of violence in my neighborhood,” Freda remembers. “In my neighborhood, [I] feared every living moment.”

Her own journey through hardship motivated her to reach out to those in similar situations, where she has taken multiple opportunities to volunteer in areas of education, shelter, youth and fundraising for various causes. That’s why instead of binging Netflix or heading to the beach, she chose to spend her spring break volunteering with the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, a unified social action agency that is committed to the eradication of homelessness.

Freda reflected on her project, saying, “I have learned to recognize homeless people in the streets, to treat them with kindness and respect because they value that just as much as a donation.”

She also learned about systematic means of oppression and cycles like, gentrification. Gentrification is the process by which the poor are displaced from their neighborhoods by the upper class. Typically, this pushes the poor further away from job opportunities, public transportation and moves them into food deserts.

Freda Fosu and her fellow CU students in Atlanta

Freda Fosu and her fellow CU students in Atlanta

“This was the most enlightening experience I have ever had,” Freda reflected. “This group was full of such amazing, positive people and through them I learned that I have the ability to use my strength to make a difference.”

Through GCHC, Freda also helped free food services like, The Sarah Center Soup Kitchen, Christ Church Cathedral and the St. Joseph Catholic Worker House. The latter specifically helps addicts battle addiction and lead them to career paths. Other organizations she contributed to while in Cincinnati included, the Bethany House, helping kids of homeless mothers; Tender Mercies, a shelter for people with mental illness; and the Freestore Foodbank, where people who didn’t have the means could shop limited amount of goods for free.

“I’m hopeful, that me, along with other good people, can contribute to reducing homelessness in the United States and I have this trip to thank for that confidence and strength,” Freda said.

Freda continues to volunteer for CU Boulder Community Health, where she works to promote the health and wellness of the Boulder students. The community projects include sex health, stress management, education of the risks involved with tobacco/marijuana use, prescription medication and drug overdose prevention.

“I want to take every small opportunity to help in overcoming our struggles because I know that with every little effort I put into helping my community, someone is overcoming a struggle,” Freda said. “And that is a satisfaction I want to live with for the rest of my life.”

Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional students may experience the rewards of an  Alternative Spring Break.

Related  Link:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back“,   Nov. 2014  (Casey Feldman Foundation) 

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down for all articles)

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amber*Amber Staska studied business management and graduated cum laude at West Chester University. She was a best friend of Casey’s since the 4th grade; they enjoyed many adventures together, especially, summers in Sea Isle. Currently, she pursues a career with Aqua Pharmaceuticals in West Chester as a Senior Sales Operations Analyst and maintains her passion for music on the side when time permits.

 

 

Adriana Gallina updated*Adriana Gallina is currently studying Journalism at Fordham College Lincoln Center on a scholarship. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award winning paper, The Fordham Observer, while working full time to support herself in New York City.

Anthropology Major Breaks from Classes but Not Volunteerism during Gentrification Trip

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

By Jackie Fedeli*

Penelope Baggs

Penelope Baggs

“Sometimes, a positive conversation about someone’s future can be all it takes for them to realize their potential.” This is what University of Colorado (CU) Boulder student Penelope Baggs learned last spring during a university-sponsored gentrification trip to San Francisco that would not have been possible without the Casey Feldman Foundation.

The anthropology major was a 2015 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipient.  The scholarship made it possible for her to study the effects of gentrification on individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds who could not keep up with the rising rent prices brought on by the San Francisco tech boom.

The scholarship also allowed Penelope to continue her mission of helping those less fortunate – a mission that she accepted when she was a little girl and her mom taught her to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

What started out as respect for animals and all living creatures grew tenfold when 16 year-old Penelope took part in a mission trip to Uganda to improve the quality of life for a local village. She assisted in the organization of sports day at a local orphanage and provided food and clothing to those in dire need. She also assisted in the construction of a well, which made water more accessible to the local community.

Penelope continued her mission during her college career.  She started out volunteering at a soup kitchen, and took it one step further when she began collecting leftover meals from her dorm to distribute to the area’s homeless.  When she studied abroad, she spent her free time helping patients in a dialysis hospital in Spain.

During the gentrification trip, Penelope and her classmates learned first-hand about the daily struggle to meet basic needs that many families face.  They worked with a local church to serve breakfast to residents suffering from food insecurity, joined a local food outreach group to deliver food directly to those in need, and bagged rice at Marin Food Bank. Penelope and her peers helped feed more than 400 families in less than one day.

Penelope doesn’t spend her time volunteering because it is a great resume builder. She does it because she believes she was born with the tools to meet her basic needs and therefore, it is her social responsibility to level the field for those less-fortunate. “I hope to one day join a team who make significant progress with social issues on a day to day basis,” said Penelope.

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

Related Links:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back“,   Nov. 2014  (Casey Feldman Foundation) 

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through for all articles)

Penelope and her fellow CU students during a break in San Francisco for a group shot

Penelope and her fellow CU students during a break in San Francisco for a group shot

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Jackie_Fedeli_pic*Jackie Fedeli studied marketing at Temple University. She began her career with the Philadelphia law firm of Anapol Weiss where she was a colleague of Casey Feldman’s father, Joel. She recently joined the Digital Delivery team at a global professional services company that focuses on advisory, broking and risk management.

 

 

What has Kailee Caranta been up to? Update on Foundation 2013 scholarship recipient

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

Kailee Francesca Caranta croppedBy Dianne L. Anderson*

Kailee Carnata was a sophomore environmental studies major working two jobs to put herself through the University of Colorado Boulder when she received a Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship in 2013 to study poverty and serve meals to the needy in San Francisco. “My experience going to San Francisco on an alternative spring break is definitely what inspired me to travel, continue to volunteer my time to causes I support, and follow my passions,” stated Kailee.

Kailee continued varied community service work and graduated in May 2015 with a BA in Environmental Studies and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology as well a certificate in Digital Media. She is currently a PPC Analyst at Metric Theory in Denver where she services over 35 clients in their internet search engine marketing needs optimizing their online advertising efforts.

After graduating and before working at Digital Media, Kailee worked at the Denver Zoo in 2015 as a Summer Safari Instructor where she worked with 2nd and 3rd graders teaching the children about the environment and conservation.

“ I loved my job at the zoo,” stated Kailee.  “The kids feel so hopeful for the future and are willing to help the animals. It makes me so proud to teach them.” Kailee plans on continuing to volunteer in the education department at the zoo while she works in her new post-grad position at Metric Theory.

Way to go Kailee Caranta!

Help other deserving students receive a Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship and donate today.

Related Links:

The Faces – 2013’s Alternative Spring Break Scholarship Recipients, May 11, 2013 – Casey Feldman Foundation Blog

Kailee Caranta climbed her first 14er in 2015

Kailee Caranta climbed her first 14er in 2015

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Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

PIIE Scholarship Internship at Women’s Health Center Reinforces Recipient’s Desire to Pursue a Medical Career

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

By Gail Roth*

Ramya

Ramya Palaniappan

University of Colorado, Boulder 2015 Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) scholarship recipient Ramya Palaniappan’s experience working as Development Event Assistant at the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center was transformative and may prove to be life changing. Ramya, a senior Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology major who will receive her Bachelor of Arts in May, 2016 applied for a scholarship through the Casey Feldman Foundation to be able to intern with a non-profit organization that provides accessible health care to lower income families. With newly gained insight into how medical centers can provide integrated and holistic approaches to health care, especially in ob/gyn and women’s health, along with a greater awareness of the part that advocacy and social justice play in our complex and expansive health care system, Ramya believes she will pursue her career in this public interest area.

While learning many new skills and enhancing her general experience in the non-profit arena, Ramya felt it was a privilege to work in a positive environment which preached the value of “empowerment for all individuals.” Raised by a single parent with a sibling in medical school, who is paying her own way through college, receiving the scholarship enabled Ramya to plan for her future, including taking the MCATs or GREs, applying to graduate or medical schools and travelling to investigate post graduate opportunities.

During her internship Ramya worked on substantive projects including Condom Couture solicitations, public speaking on the Center’s work in women’s health as well as the specific health care issues confronted by the population served by the Center. She participated in a Women Powering Change conference and researched how organizations create inclusiveness so that the community the Center seeks to serve can have its needs met. She also conducted grants research and constructed a patient survey.

Ramya learned an enormous amount about women’s health and its position in the social and political realm in the United States. In fact, the experience was so impactful that she will continue volunteering at the Center. While the internship focused on the development side of the organization, with her deepened understanding of the impact of health on individuals, she believes she will seek a career after graduation in the medical field relating to reproductive health and women’s issues.

The Public Interest Internship Experience for students at The University of Colorado Boulder began in 2005 and provides students with  paid summer internships at a government agency or non-profit, organizations that may not otherwise be able to provide compensation. The Casey Feldman Foundation has funded one student per year since 2010, following Casey’s death in 2009.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional students may experience the rewards of a Public Interest Internship (PIIE) internship.

PIIE 2015

Ramya Palaniappan (center) with past PIIE Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship recipients, Colin Mayberry (L) – The Nature Conservancy, 2013 & Dylan Mark – Boulder Valley Humane Society, 2012 at the Feldman home in August

Related Links:

I Have a Dream – “This was the best and most beneficial summer of my life”   (Ellie Roberts PIIE 2014)

PIIE Scholarship Recipient Aids Non-Profit Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center (Lynette Schweimler PIIE 2011)

PIIE Awards First Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship (Mercedes Ruiz PIIE 2010)

 

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gail roth*Gail Roth is an attorney with Bookspan Family Law in Radnor, PA.  Having also experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one, Gail  focuses her practice on helping clients move through difficult transitions and building happier futures. She is a former colleague of Casey’s father, Joel Feldman.

Trip on Border Issues Forces Scholarship Recipient Charly Mendoza to Wrestle With Inner Past Demons

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
CO ASB PIIE 2015

Charly Mendoza

By Kelsey Butler*

For University of Colorado (CU) Boulder student Charly Mendoza, a Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship has helped him experience a “one of a kind” spring break trip.

Charly received a 2015 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) scholarship to study immigration issues in Arizona, which, according to the website, would help students “explore and understand the issues and challenges on both sides of the border.”

The trip is designed to be an “immersion experience to gain both understanding and awareness of immigrant and border issues and an opportunity to work towards justice.” During the program, students directly spoke with people along the border in Tuscon, Ariz., and Nogales, Mexico, impacted by the hot-button topic of immigration. The group also worked with organizations that construct water drops and help treat and prepare prospective border crossers and returnees.

charly mendoza 3

The border between Arizona and Mexico

Of the experience, Charly said, “Besides my personal interest in the issue, I had a blast being able to connect with such a diverse group of students who all shared a common ideal that every human no matter the skin they were has the right to live life without being harassed and killed in hatred.”

Charly said the scholarship from the foundation helped him “immensely” in overcoming the price tag of the trip, so he could learn about the actual reality of living on the border—later adding, “I’m so very grateful.”

He hopes to use the lessons learned on his alternative spring break in the immediate future as a leader of the same spring break trip he took last year, and eventually, once he graduates from CU, to accomplish a list of many ambitious goals. For Charly, who is double majoring in molecular, cellular, developmental biology and creative writing, these dreams include working in the pharmaceutical industry to combat genetic defects and harmful mutations, launching a writing career, and teaching high school or university students—perhaps back at CU.

charly mendoza 2

Water drop for immigrants

The journey has helped Charly, now a sophomore at CU, to build a support system with the other students he was able to travel with.

“The trip was one of kind to be honest,” he said. “Eleven strangers left at [4 a.m.] at the start of that spring break week and by the 7th day those same 11 came back changed for the better becoming more like family than friends. Personally, immigration hits very close to home to me so this trip was a bit more of me trying to wrestle with my inner past demons I had about [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] taking my dad away unjustly. Luckily I had 10 other shoulders to cry on and am now proud of calling them familia.”

All of our Alternate Spring Break scholarships are based upon financial need. Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that other deserving students may experience an Alternative Spring Break.

Charly and his fellow CU classmates in AZ (Charlie -rear row, 2nd from L)

Charly and his fellow CU classmates in AZ (Charlie -rear row, 2nd from L)

Related Links:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back“,   Nov. 2014  (Casey Feldman Foundation) 

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through for all articles)

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casey-d

Kelsey (L) & Casey

*Kelsey Butler was one of Casey’s best friends and roommate at Fordham University. She works as a financial journalist in New York.

With an Open Mind and Open Heart, Scholarship Recipient Strives to Use her Passion and Energy to Help Others

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

By Gail Roth*

Madeline Gross“Stoked and blessed” is how Madeline Gross, a Junior Anthropology major at the University of Colorado at Boulder described her reaction to being selected as the recipient of a Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship to participate in the University’s Alternative Spring Break Program. “I signed up …specifically to learn more about what it means to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. I saw the deeply ingrained and confusing attitudes from parents, friends, community leaders, teachers and doctors … I wanted to understand what it means to be of a marginalized community.” Although she has faced challenges in her own life, overall she feels privileged to be able to use her time as a college student for the good of others.

Raised by her grandparents in a close knit church-going family, Madeline saw little support in her community for teens struggling with gender and sexual identity, especially the impact on friends who were not able to be seen “as fully human” by those closest to them because they were different. As a high school junior seeking inspiration in the big world outside her Fort Morgan, Colorado home, 16-year old Madeline spent a year in Minas Gerais, Brazil, learning and volunteering through the foundation APAE. While in South America, she spent half her school day in class and the rest working with mentally and physically disabled children and adults, in another language (Portuguese), far from home.

At CU Boulder, Madeline remains committed to improving the lives of others from marginalized communities. In the spirit of Casey Feldman’s advocacy and support of the rights of the LGTQ community, Madeline, along with other dedicated and curious CU students, participated in ThroughOUT San Fran: LGBTQ Advocacy. The program’s participants experienced the diversity of the LBGTQ community with members from every walk of life. They learned about the needs of its members for food, shelter, medical necessities as well as protection from HIV/AIDS, police brutality and discrimination. Among the projects she worked on during her stay, Madeline and other volunteers walked more than 14 miles across San Francisco with the AIDS Housing Alliance to find housing for people with immediate needs for shelter and to meet with various hotels to see if they wanted to partner with the organization.

Just as she feels grateful for her many opportunities for civic engagement and her ability to make a difference, Madeline says of her Alternative Spring Break experience, “I understand many of the benefits I have being a college student, being a heterosexual, white woman because I don’t worry about unfair treatment or harassment on a daily basis.” By working with, not for, people from the LGBTQ community, Madeline not only understands the issues on a deeper level but made friends with other trip members in the process.

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

Madeline Gross (rear, brown hat) and her fellow CU students in San Francisco

Madeline Gross (rear, brown hat) and her fellow CU students in San Francisco

Related Links:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back“,   Nov. 2014  (Casey Feldman Foundation) 

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through for all articles)

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gail roth*Gail Roth is an attorney with Bookspan Family Law in Radnor, PA.  Having also experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one, Gail  focuses her practice on helping clients move through difficult transitions and building happier futures. She is a former colleague of Casey’s father, Joel Feldman.

 

Elizabeth LeNard Turns Everything Off to Capture Each Moment of Helping Others

Friday, September 25th, 2015

By Jennifer Geiringer*

L. Leonard.JPG 4

Elizabeth Lenard

For Elizabeth LeNard (L), volunteering and giving her time to help victims of hurricane Katrina came easy; it’s just what she felt she was meant to do for her spring break.

Ever since Elizabeth was young, she wanted to change the world. As she became older, Elizabeth realized that was a pretty lofty dream,  so she decided to devote time volunteering with many organizations to become more focused in her pursuit. She volunteered at a local library, helped with underprivileged youths in her community, and worked on several community fundraising events. Elizabeth said she was drawn to the Alternative Spring Break program, because like the EndDD.org campaign of the Casey Feldman Foundation, she had a dream to change something that was wrong in our society.

L. Leonard.JPG 2

Some of Elizabeth’s classmates who she worked with on the home of the Katrina victim

As one of the 2015  recipients of an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) scholarship provided by the Casey Feldman Foundation, Elizabeth had the opportunity to spend her spring break from college helping build a home for a Katrina victim who had also become the victim of a fraud contractor. “I began my ‘Alternative Spring Break’ trip to New Orleans by turning everything off: social media, my phone, and the responsibilities of my “old” life,” said Elizabeth. “By doing this, I was able to understand and experience this new place and these stories with utter attention.”

Elizabeth saw first-hand how someone can lose everything, changing their life forever in just the blink of an eye. She also learned how some people will take advantage of others, even after they have just experienced a disaster. This was probably the most surprising realization since Elizabeth has always been so giving of herself, especially to those less fortunate.

During her week stay, Elizabeth not only gave of herself but grew as a young adult. She learned how to use her hands to build/re-build, but how to be more patient and understanding of others. She also learned that no matter what may happen in life,  she too can persevere, just as the Katrina victim did whose house she was helping to rebuild. “Going in, I didn’t know much about Katrina, I just knew what the media told me,” said Elizabeth. “Going in, I just had the idea to help without the prior knowledge of how important my help would actually be on the city. Going in and coming out were two completely different stories.”

L. Leonard.JPG 3

Elizabeth and her group from CU taking time out from their work in New Orleans to pose for a photo

Elizabeth is now a sophomore at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder , where, in addition to her studies, she is interning with New Era Colorado Foundation , an organization that seeks to empower young people in democracy. Elizabeth is working on getting out the vote, stating that “It is the young people who will change the world!” In addition, L is a member of the the Academic Excellence Program  and INVST at CU Boulder.

Of her ASB experience, Elizabeth said it was truly life-changing and she has vowed that money will never stop her from making a difference in the world.

All of our Alternate Spring Break scholarships are based upon fininacial need. Please donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that other deserving students may experience an Alternative Spring Break.

Related Links:

“Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back“,   Nov. 2014  (Casey Feldman Foundation) 

About the Alternative Spring Break Program (CU Volunteer Resource Center)

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through for all articles)

Elizabeth Lenard (3rd from L) with Casey Feldman's parents, Dianne  Anderson and Joel Feldman in Boulder in July with Foundation scholarship recipients Vi-Thuy Vo (L), Charly Mendoza and Ramya Palaniappan

Boulde, CO in July: Elizabeth Lenard (3rd from L) with Casey Feldman’s parents, Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman and Foundation scholarship recipients Vi-Thuy Vo (L), Charly Mendoza and Ramya Palaniappan

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*Jennifer Bello-GeiringerJennifer Geiringer serves as Marketing Director of Lawsuit Financial, a pro-justice litigation funding company owned by veteran attorney Mark Bello. She and Mark are friends of Casey’s parents and long time supporters of the Casey Feldman Foundation.