Casey Feldman Foundation Proud of Scholarship Recipient, Alejandra Pedraza

October 30th, 2017

By Dianne Anderson*

Alejandra Pedraza  is a shining example of the kind of student that the Casey Feldman Foundation is proud to support through its Alternative Spring Break Scholarship program. This first generation college student and junior at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) was born in the United States by an immigrant mother who crossed the border from Mexico with Pedraza’s older sister in arms. According to Alejandra, “being born in this country is one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received.” Majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as environmental studies, Alejandra hopes to one day become an environmental lawyer to protect the environment and advocate for people who are disproportionately impacted by unsound environmental practices.

“Being in college is a great privilege” and “one of the hardest and most fulfilling endeavors of my life,” says Pedraza, who takes immense pride in being the first in family to attend college and sees herself as a role model for her younger sister.“I make the most out of every day by constantly learning and participating in events and activities,” she adds.

A Daniels Scholar as the result of her exceptional character, leadership, and community service, Pedraza is grateful for the payment of her college tuition and fees. With no other financial support, she has worked throughout college to pay her living expenses and to send money to her hard working mother, who struggles to make ends meet. This leaves virtually no funding for the many extra programs, activities and leadership opportunities that she would like to participate in, something often taken for granted by other students.

One of these is the Alternative Breaks, a program of the Volunteer Resource Center at CU, which sends teams of college students to engage in community-based service projects during each college break, providing opportunities for students to learn about the problems faced by members of communities with whom they may otherwise have had little or no direct contact.

It was only through funding from the Casey Feldman Foundation that Pedraza was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Alternative Spring Break human trafficking trip this past spring in Miami, Florida. The host for the students in Miami was The Life of Freedom Center, a community resource that offers free support and restorative programs for female survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking and works toward ending human trafficking both locally and throughout the United States.

The experience was an immersive educational experience for Alejandro and her fellow volunteers who learned about this $32 billion industry and  how to identify and respond to human trafficking in their own community.  Much of Alejandra’s time and energy is focused on the environment and she was eager, as a student leader, to learn about this critical and heartbreaking issue. “This trip really helped bring the concept of human trafficking closer to home. A lot of the things I witnessed in Miami can easily be witnessed throughout the streets of Denver. I simply had never put two and two together,” said Alejandro.

Part of Alejandra’s week was spent volunteering her services at a safe house for human trafficking victims where she performed landscaping work to make the entrance more attractive.” I loved doing this,” said Alejandra, “because I was able to actually contribute to the cause with my own hard work. Casey Feldman was a champion of human rights and by participating in this trip, I took a step in the same direction.”

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Dianne (R) and Casey, Christmas 2006

 

*Dianne Anderson  is the mother of the late Casey Feldman and co-founder of The Casey Feldman Foundation.

 

Scholarship Recipient Volunteers in Aftermath of Louisiana Flood

October 27th, 2017

By Jacinda Romo*

University of Colorado (CU)  sophomore, Juwan Harris is a 2017 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipient. Majoring in integrative physiology with a certificate in public health, Harris hopes to one day become a trauma surgeon and work with Doctors Without Borders. A Colorado native who enjoys Boulder’s culture and atmosphere,  Juwan’s compassion for others has propelled him into extensive community service,  which has included volunteering at the Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House and the Denver Soup Kitchen.

Juwan is one of three brothers raised by a single mom who battled constant financial instability. He was the recipient of a Daniels Fund 4-year college scholarship as the result of his exceptional character, leadership, and community service.  Despite his childhood memories of hardship,  Juwan sees himself as quite fortunate and feels that the daily issues that he faces are trivial in comparison to those who are genuinely struggling. This motivates him to want help others experience the “chance at a life and a future.”

Juwan was part of a group of CU student volunteers this spring who participated in the “Natural Disasters and Rebuilding” Alternative Spring Break trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A stipend from the Casey Feldman Foundation covered Juwan’s expenses for the trip to Baton Rouge to help in the aftermath of catastrophic flooding which occurred in August, 2016. Thousands of homes and businesses had been submerged in waters and Harris volunteerred with a local organization that rebuilt homes for those who were physically and financially unable to do so themselves. Starting at 7 am each morning, Juwan worked on the home of a man who was confined to a wheelchair and living in a makeshift trailer on his property. Juan’s labor included removing moldy insulation and ultimately, repainting the entire home.

Juwan was able to get to know the grateful homeowner, who he described as “the most genuine, caring, and humorous man I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting,”  adding that “southern hospitality is a real thing… I helped him not because I had to or because I signed up for the trip but because after meeting him the first day I felt as though I needed to help him. He was the driving force of why I woke up every morning that week at 7 am to work all day.”

“I feel like whenever a natural disaster happens it’s so easy to post a status about praying for that city or to post about donating $1….Being physically present and helping the cause hands-on is so much more meaningful,” said Juwan.

Since 2010, the Casey Feldman Foundation has provided funding for some 5 to 10 college students annually to participate in an Alternative Spring Break trip. To continue to make this scholarship stipend possible and enable students to experience the joy and gratification of volunteer service, please DONATE here.

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*Jacinda Romo is a current sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder majoring in political science with a minor in leadership and ethnic studies.  She plans to influence others through education and empathy as she pursues a career in social justice and civic engagement.

Nicole DiMauro, 2017 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient, Heads to Penn State This Fall

July 15th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Nicole DiMauro

This year’s Springfield High School (Casey’s alma mater) scholarship was awarded to Nicole DiMauro, Editor-in-Chief of Springfield High School’s  Spri-Hian school newspaper. However, it was not just this similarity with Casey that earned Nicole the scholarship—her love of journalism combined with a passion for theater, sheer kindness and overall positivity made Nicole stand out as the perfect nominee for the scholarship.

Nicole shines both inside and outside of the classroom, maintaining stellar grades while volunteering around the community, playing volleyball for the school, participating in theater and working tirelessly to make Springfield’s journalism program the best that it can be. Hilary Campbell, Nicole’s school counselor, thinks this is because “Nicole is a self-motivated learner.” Campbell continued that “Although Nicole is somewhat reserved, she possesses powerful maturity, drive and confidence. Few of her family members finished high school, but Nicole is eager to attend college and is well prepared.”

Although Nicole seems like an ideal candidate for the scholarship, she was surprised to find out that she was the student chosen to receive the award. While talking about the moment she found out she won the scholarship, Nicole recalled “I heard about it when the principal sent out an email to the school detailing the senior awards ceremony.” When pressed for more details as to why she thinks she was chosen, Nicole stayed coy and humble, simply replying “I think my teachers noticed that I was a hard worker and had good leadership and organizational skills.”

Come this fall, Nicole will start the next phase of her life as a communications student at Penn State. “I loved writing for the school paper, the Spri-Hian, the most,” Nicole said. Starting as a writer her sophomore year, Nicole worked her way up to a page editor (junior year) before being elected the Editor-in-Chief senior year. “Because of my experience with the newspaper, I plan to study communications at Penn State. Being in a newsroom setting just does something to me… I love doing interviews, meeting new people and even spending long nights editing articles. There’s nothing like it.” She continued, “The paper really changed my outlook on everything. I had never been so passionate about something before.”

Nicole DiMauro at the SHS awards ceremony with Casey’s parents, Dianne Anderson & Joel Feldman

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*Morgan Steward is a junior 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. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

 

All Invited – Casey Feldman Day of Service, July 16th

June 15th, 2017

Day of ServiceFriends, family and supporters are invited to gather and provide a day of service at Providence Animal Center, 555 Sandy Bank Road, Media PA honoring Casey on the 8th anniversary of her death. The event will take place on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm.  Projects will include fence repair and installation, staining outdoor furniture, and trail maintenance. Snacks, drinks and lunch will be provided. The event is open to the public.

Casey was an animal lover and a huge supporter of shelters and adoption of pets. Providence Animal Center is a no-kill shelter and was the former Delaware County SPCA. Many of the Feldman family pets were adopted there. In addition to saving over 3,800 animals in 2016, they prevent future pet overpopulation through community programs including pet food pantries, low-cost public veterinary and behavioral services and humane education and law enforcement.

Bring your gardening gloves and any gardening tools that you may have and join us in honoring Casey’s memory on this special day of community service.

Note: Parking is limited so volunteers are encouraged to carpool. Please park on the gravel lots on either side of the building.

RSVP by July 12th  – Text or call Dianne Anderson at 610-659-6995 or respond on the Facebook Event page.

If you cannot attend, consider donating to the Casey Feldman Foundation! 

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Related Links:

All articles on our previous days of service (scroll down)

Photo Gallery – Photos from our previous days of service

 

 

2013 Scholarship Recipient Creates Health and Wellness Business

June 14th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Jaclyn DiGregorioOur 2013 scholarship recipient from Springfield High School, Jacylyn DiGregorio, was quite accomplished four years ago, graduating 4th in her class, serving as a class officer and raising almost $200,000 for pediatric cancer patients, among many other things. Jaclyn just graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in marketing and international business and, as a result of finding a solution to her significant weight gain which occurred in her freshman year, has written a book and started her own health and wellness business.

Jaclyn has combined her new found  passion with the skills she learned in the classroom to launch CUSP Three Six Five, the first holistic and transformative health and wellness brand to promote rule-free lifelong nutrition.

“I gained about 30 pounds during my freshman year of college and it was very tough emotionally. Without as much confidence as I used to have, I just kind of failed more often in life in general,” DiGregorio recalled. “I realized the problem… was that I was following a very restrictive diet. [The diet] was actually causing me to gain weight because I would end up overeating as a result of dieting,” she said.

Once DiGregorio realized this was the problem, she began to research the phenomena a bit more and discovered the lots of people, no matter their age or gender, tend to have a similar problem. Fascinated by the discovery and inspired by a newfound passion for health, Jaclyn became certified as a nutrition coach and began to implement the business knowledge she had acquired in her classes to create a new company that could help individuals manage or lose weight in a safe and effective manner.

Jaclyn created the CUSP method, a four-step program that individuals could apply to their daily lives to not just lose weight, but become healthier individuals overall. The method is outlined in DiGregorio’s debut novel, also aptly titled “The CUSP Method.” “[CUSP] stands for concentrate, understand, supplement and portion,” DiGregorio explained, “I wanted something that people could apply in their life… all 365 days of the year.”

DiGregorio explained that for her, writing a novel was the natural first step in creating a company. She credits this knowledge to one of her professors, who she said acted as a great mentor to her. “I was under the mentorship of an amazing professor who taught me that you can learn about entrepreneurship through writing a book because that’s kind of like your first product,” she said. “It’s a way for you to make a name for yourself, to establish yourself as an expert in whatever industry you’re interested in.”

Along with her book, Jaclyn also offers fitness coaching and sells pineapple portion control plates to help clients learn the ratio of fruits/vegetables to protein and starches that they should be eating each meal. The portion plates follow the guidelines set forth by the USDA: half of each plate should be fruits and vegetables, with the other half split evenly between protein and starches.

A CUSP Three Six Five mobile app is also on the way, after DiGregorio successfully raised just over $20,000 in a Kickstarter campaign. “The app is going to be a way that people can enjoy healthy meals based on their taste preferences. It’ll have all kinds of options based on a profile that it creates for each person that they can completely customize with what they like and what they don’t like. Then they’ll be able to pick through a database of thousands of meals,” DiGregorio explained.

She described the app as being “a lot of hands on work.” She must provide the coder and the graphic designer she has hired with the money from the campaign with sketches displaying exactly what she wants the app to look like—from the colors used to what button will lead to what screen.

As for the goals of CUSP Three Six Five, DiGregorio stated that she hopes “people get relief from dieting from this. For people who have felt like they have been on and off different diets their whole lives, I hope that they find that they can be healthy and that they can hit their ideal weight, whatever it might be, and enjoy their life.”

Way to go Jaclyn!

Related Link:

CUSP Three Six Five

“2013 SHS Scholarship Recipient in 2nd Year at Georgetown“, Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates, 22 November 2014

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morgan steward*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. She is the Arts & Culture Co-Editor of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

Foundation Funds New Facility Dog at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

June 6th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Therapist Kirsten Ondich with Kentucky and the Foundations' check

Therapist Kirsten Ondich with Kentucky and the Foundations’ check

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital has a new therapist roaming its halls. Kentucky, a 70-pound labrador and golden retriever mix, has arrived at the facility as a gift from the Casey Feldman and Anapol Weiss Foundation, who are long-time supporters of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital.

Kentucky is a “facility dog,” which differs greatly from a traditional therapy dog. Whereas therapy dogs are used to boost the overall moral of patients and provide emotional support, facility dogs are highly skilled and trained animals who assist patients in completing daily tasks. For two years, Kentucky trained at Canine Companions for Independence where he learned how to turn on lights, open and close doors, take off someone’s shoes and socks, and even pick a credit card up from the floor.

This is the third facility dog that the Foundation has sponsored. The first, Ford, was sponsored in 2012, followed by Joey a few years later. The idea to sponsor an animal arose out of Casey’s love for service and animals. Casey understood how important an animal’s unconditional love was in the lives of others, especially those experiencing difficult times.

The patients who Kentucky assists at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital are recovering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and amputations. According to Kirsten Ondich, occupational therapist and Kentucky’s handler, having a furry friend around provides patients with extra incentive to exercise more frequently while also doing more reps of each exercise.

The Foundation has head a special relationship with Magee for several years now. For the past four years, the Foundation has honored the anniversary of Casey’s death with a day of volunteer service there.  Every “angelversary” thus far has combined Casey’s love for animals with her desire to serve in some manner—the first two years of service took place at the Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals in Radnor, Pennsylvania. This coming year, all are invited to join Foundation supporters to volunteer at Providence Animal Shelter in Media, PA on July 16th.

Related Link:

 Stacey Burling, “Magee Rehab’s new facility dog makes even therapy fun.”  Philly.com,  14 April 2017

Previous Casey Feldman Foundation articles about Magee and the Foundation sponsored facility dogs

Spinal cord injury patient, Elizabeth Gomez learning to move forward and sit back

Spinal cord injury patient, Elizabeth Gomez tosses Kentucky a ball as she leans to move forward and sit back

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morgan steward*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. She is the Arts & Culture Co-Editor of The Observer, Fordham’s student newspaper (where Casey was the News Editor).

Help Us Celebrate Casey’s 29th Birthday this Thursday, April 6th

April 2nd, 2017

This Thursday, April 6th, Casey would be turning 29 years-old if she were still with us. To honor Casey’s life and celebrate the day, we are hosting a virtual birthday party for Casey on Facebook. We are asking everyone to post a picture of themself with Casey, a favorite Casey memory or anything else to commemorate the occasion. The posts should be placed on the Casey Feldman Foundation Facebook page or on your own page and tag @CaseyFeldmanFoundation.

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Casey’s Story Makes CBS Evening News Coverage as Pedestrian Deaths Surge

April 2nd, 2017

Casey was a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk in broad daylight when she was killed by a motorist who had a stop sign. That was in 2009. A report just released by the by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)  projects an 11% increase in the number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roadways last year, compared to 2015. This would represent the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in terms of the number of deaths and percentage increase. Overall, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25% since Casey death.  CBS News interviewed Casey’s dad and featured her story in its report on these latest statistics.

cbs

84 Cats Spayed – Sponsored By Foundation

March 26th, 2017
providence animal center

The surgeons at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine who notaded their time to syay 84 cats.

The Casey Feldman Foundation sponsored cat spay/neuter day on March 1, 2017 at Providence Animal Center in Media, PA was a huge success! 84 cats were spayed and or neutered thanks to funding by our Foundation.

Why spay and neuter? Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually (The Humane Society of the United States).  This sad and enormous number is as a result of un-spayed and un-neutered animals. One un-spayed female dog and one un-neutered male dog and their offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years. For cats it is even worse. One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring results in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

The Casey Feldman Foundation is pleased to again honor Casey’s love of animals and passion for animal welfare by helping to reduce the number of cats that wind up homeless, suffering and most of the time, euthanized.

Casey Feldman Foundation Sponsors Cat Spay/Neuter Day at Providence Animal Center

February 9th, 2017

cats

The Casey Feldman Foundation is proud to announce a cat spay/neuter day on March 1, 2017 at Providence Animal Center in Media, PA from 9 am to 5 pm.  All cat spays and neuters will be just $15.

Why spay and neuter? Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually (The Humane Society of the United States).  This sad and enormous number is as a result of un-spayed and un-neutered animals. One un-spayed female dog and one un-neutered male dog and their offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years. For cats it is even worse. One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring results in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

The Casey Feldman Foundation is pleased to again honor Casey’s love of animals and passion for animal welfare by helping to reduce the number of cats that wind up homeless, suffering and most of the time, euthanized.

Book a spot for your cat or a community cat by calling 610-566-1370 x216. Space is limited, so call today.

Cats must be at least 4 months of age. This service is open to all pet owners!