Cappies Scholarship Recipient, India Henderson, Wows the Crowd and The Casey Feldman Foundation

February 9th, 2018

By Jaela Zellars*

India Henderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of the many scholarships awarded this past year, The Casey Feldman Foundation was pleased to offer Westtown High School student, India Henderson, the opportunity to be our 2017 Greater Philadelphia Cappies Scholarship recipient. The Cappies is an international awards program that trains and recognizes high school theatre and journalism students.

The Foundation began awarding a Cappies scholarship in 2011, two years after Casey was tragically killed by a distracted driver. Casey  became Springfield High School’s (SHS) first lead critic in 2005 and was nominated for a Cappie herself for best actress at the 2006 Gala for her participation in Springfield High School’s production of “The Odd Couple. She accepted the Cappie that year on behalf of the entire Odd Couple cast, which won the Cappie for best play.  In 2010, Casey was awarded an honorary Cappie that was accepted by her parents on her behalf.

Despite being one of very few students of color in a predominantly white high school, India Henderson has managed to stand out from the crowd thanks to her talents as both an outstanding actress and Cappies critic.  Since her sophomore year of high school, India has been a lead in several of her high school’s productions. One of her most notable performances took place during a production of Kiss Me Kate where something as simple as her entrance onto the stage earned her multiple rounds of applause.

While India is an incredibly talented and accomplished actress, writer, and critic, she also stood out to the Casey Feldman Foundation for her role as a student leader and passion for diversity and inclusion.  Those who think fondly of India have noted that “she pulls others in the process [of writing] and elevates their voice”. India truly values the meaning of teamwork and collaboration when it comes to the artistic process. Now a freshman at The University of Richmond, social justice is not a new topic of discussion for India. For years, India has been a very active member of the Children’s International Summer Villages Program which uses summer camps to build peace and understanding in a multicultural setting. India is very proud of who she is as a young black woman and during high school she used her position as the student body president to facilitate conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, amongst a community of students who had very limited exposure to the subject matter.

One of India’s most notable strengths is due to the fact that she is always looking to challenge and improve herself. During her 10th grade year, she took on the position of Work Program Head, a position that involved a lot of uncomfortable conversations between her and her peers about them not meeting community responsibilities. She knew that expanding her leadership roles would allow her to escape the clutches of her comfort zone, and it has helped her to evolve into a wonderful, empathetic, and self-sufficient leader within her community. Despite her commitment to so many extracurricular activities, India was able to maintain an outstanding GPA. Her ability to recognize when she needs to pull back on her activities to focus on her academics has been a tremendous skill for her that has and will continue to take her very far in life.

The grace and strength in which India has been able to handle adversity and still come out on top is what makes India not only a great Cappie, but also a well-deserving Casey Feldman Scholar.

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*Jaela Zellars is a junior at The University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in integrative physiology and double minoring in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies. She currently works as a Peer Mentor in the Multicultural Living and Learning Community as well as the Volunteer Resource Center at CU where she uses her position to get first-year students engaged in service work.

The Casey Feldman Foundation Welcomes Two New Board Members

January 2nd, 2018

By Morgan Steward*

The Casey Feldman Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members to the Foundation’s board of directors: John Bair and Janine Repka. The Board provides the Casey Feldman Foundation leadership for carrying out the Foundation’s mission to provide financial support to individuals, groups, and institutions whose interests and goals align with those of Casey. This includes providing scholarships to deserving students and promoting safe driving through our sponsored site, EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving).

Janine Repka is the Assistant Director of Leadership Giving at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. She has previously worked at Mount Sinai Health Systems as a major gift coordinator and then project manager and at Atlantic Theater Company as manager of individual giving and special events.

Janine’s relationship with the Feldman family began back in 2006 when she and Casey were randomly selected to be roommates at Fordham University their freshman year. The two immediately hit it off, becoming best friends and choosing to remain roommates the following two years, until the time of Casey’s death. Prior to being asked to officially join the Board, Repka has worked with the Foundation on a variety of projects, including writing blog posts, managing their social media accounts and giving presentations about the dangers of distracted driving at high schools and museums in Pennsylvania.

Coming from a career in nonprofit fundraising, Repka hopes to put those skills she has developed in her personal career to good use at the Casey Feldman Foundation. She looks forward to expanding fundraising and scholarship opportunities as well as promoting Casey’s story and inspiring others to examine their dangerous driving habits.”I am thrilled to be able to continue to honor Casey’s life through working more closely with the Foundation,” said Janine.

John Bair is the owner and founder of Milestone Consulting, the co-founder (along with his wife Amy) of the Bairs Foundation, and an active member of the Association for Justice (AAJ) . Bair first became connected with Casey’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson (founders of the Foundation) in 2010, right after the launch of EndDD.org. Casey’s story really resounded with Bair, whose daughter was a freshman in high school at that time, and he seized the opportunity to get involved with the organization.

Bair is joining the Board with three fundamental strategic issues he hopes to tackle. First, he hopes to advise and counsel the founders in an attempt to help them actualize their long-term goals for the Casey Feldman Foundation. Secondly, he hopes to fundraise for the Foundation to create a viable and systematic flow of money into the Foundation so that the organization can fully focus on spreading awareness and teaching others the dangers of driving distracted. Finally, Bair hopes to help the Foundation network throughout the country to recruit other strong willed advocates to support the organization in whichever ways they are capable.

“I didn’t appreciate how much of an epidemic we were sitting in the middle of,” Bair explained when asked why he ready to take on a bigger role in the Foundation. “Being exposed to Joel and Dianne’s loss— Casey being killed— was a wakeup call. I recognized that I was an unsafe driver and I drove distracted. The personal message delivered by Joel, that we can all make such a huge difference in our communities and in the networks of people we are close to, by just becoming an advocate made me think.”

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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).

 

Cassie Sprong Helps Young Boys Experience the Great Outdoors

December 12th, 2017

By Jaela Zellers*

Cassie Sprong

University of Colorado Boulder Sophomore and Alternative Breaks participant Cassandra “Cassie” Sprong has been a major advocate for service work for many years of her life. From joining her high school’s Service Learning Club to going on an Alternative Spring Break Trip to Santa Cruz, California, Cassie is certainly no stranger to the joys of volunteering. She is currently a member of the CU Boulder Service Learning Club, which sends college students out to schools around Boulder to tutor native Spanish-speaking students. In her own words, Cassie believes that “Service is not ‘giving back’— rather, it’s working together to improve”.

Cassie’s passion for service work can be traced back to when she was around the age of 9 years old, during a very memorable experience in which she was walking around Denver with a friend and noticed that there were many individuals who were in need of some form of assistance, whether it was housing, food, shelter, or all of the above. Her solution to this was to make enough sack lunches to feed at least 20 people around that same area. The fact that such a simple gesture of humanity was able to improve the lives of so many less fortunate individuals in her own community gave Cassie the boost of confidence that she needed to make volunteering a life-long passion. This experience has led her to participate in even larger and more impactful service projects such as building a house for a low-income family with her high school Service Learning Club in Tijuana, Mexico.  At such a young age, she possessed an amazing sense of awareness of the injustices in the world around her as well as a desire to make that world a little better.

Cassie, who has always been inspired by her passion for biology and the environment, is currently majoring in Integrative Physiology. During the Spring of 2017, she was chosen as a recipient of the Casey Feldman Scholarship which allowed her to attend the Alternative Spring Break Trip that was focused on youth science education at YMCA Camp Campbell in CA. During her Alternative Spring Break trip, she and a group of about 9 other highly motivated and driven CU students spent their days hiking through the Redwood Forest and teaching 6th grade boys about the importance of preserving and respecting nature. One of her favorite elements of her trip was watching as those boys began to change their perspectives and take the environment a little more seriously over the course of just four days. Not only was she able to share with these boys her passion for science and learning, but she was also able to watch some of them experience the environment in its most natural form for the first time. For many of these boys, this was the first time that anyone had ever invested the time into taking them hiking and/or camping.

In addition to being a full time student, Cassie has also taken up a job as a hostess to make ends meet while she’s in college, due to having to be financially independent. With no monetary support from her family, Cassie sought out the Casey Feldman Scholarship as a means of helping her to take her love of service to the next level. With humanitarian views very similar to those shared by Casey Feldman, there are very few people more deserving of the scholarship.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that more students may experience the joys of service work over their college break.

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*Jaela Zellars is a junior at The University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in integrative physiology and double minoring in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies. She currently works as a Peer Mentor in the Multicultural Living and Learning Community as well as the Volunteer Resource Center at CU where she uses her position to get first-year students engaged in service work.

Scholarship Recipient, Adilene Marquez, Passionate About Social Justice Issues

December 4th, 2017

By Jaela Zellers*

Adilene Marquez

Adilene Marquez, a Colorado native and current University of Colorado (CU) Boulder senior, is a wonderful example of the social justice oriented students that The Casey Feldman Foundation is proud to sponsor through their Alternative Spring Break (ASB) scholarships. Despite having a major in psychology as well as two minors in business and leadership, Adilene has made it her mission to be as passionate about social justice issues as possible. Some of her more specific social justice interests include: immigration, racism, poverty, and repairing the criminal justice system. Throughout her college career, Adilene has been involved with the Latinx activist group Umas y Mecha, the CU Boulder Honor Code, as well as the McNeil and TRIO academic programs. Adilene’s genuine care for the well-being of others has shaped many of her academic and social successes.

Coming from a working-class background, Adilene has never let her family’s financial situation deter her from achieving her dreams and being a great activist. Prior to applying for the Alternative Spring Breaks Program, Adilene’s mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. While numerous treatments and surgeries left her family with a significant amount of debt and their own financial difficulties, Adilene’s passion to help others still inspired her to pursue the Alternative Spring Break Program in 2017. With the help of the Casey Feldman Scholarship, she was able to make that dream a reality.

During the Spring Break of 2017, Adilene, along with a few other dedicated CU students traveled to Tucson, Arizona to participate in the Alternative Spring Breaks trip that focused on Immigration Reform. With immigration policy reform being one of her most important social justice interests, she just knew that she was meant to go on this trip. During her week of service, Adilene was able to see first-hand how immigration policies in the United States have impacted communities that are not so different from her own. One element of the ASB experience that was truly memorable for Adilene was visiting the US-Mexico border where her group was able to see the actual location where so many men, women, and children have risked their lives to find a better future within our country.

Adilene is very interested in bringing more awareness to the challenges that underrepresented students like her face on a day-to-day basis on the CU Boulder campus and within the Boulder community. A natural-born leader, she says that “Social justice issues are very important to [her] and [she] has no problem with leading the movement that brings awareness to [those issues] and opens the eyes of some people”. Having previously volunteered in the hospital where her mother was treated for cancer, as well as with the Alternatives for Youth Program, which works to prepare at risk youth for going back to school with a positive attitude, Adilene is no stranger to service work. While enduring her own hardships in life, she has spent much of her free time improving the lives of others and making the world a better place. Adilene’s values, dedication, and positive-spirit are what make her not only a wonderful human being, but also someone who Casey would be proud to have continue her legacy.

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*Jaela Zellars is a junior at The University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in integrative physiology and double minoring in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies. She currently works as a Peer Mentor in the Multicultural Living and Learning Community as well as the Volunteer Resource Center at CU where she uses her position to get first-year students engaged in service work.

Scholarship Recipient Helps the Homeless in Seattle

November 30th, 2017

By Morgan Steward*

Kiara Chavez

Kiara Chavez, a student in the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, has a hectic life. In addition to being a full time student, the sophomore somehow also finds time in her schedule to volunteer, tutor and work in order to support herself. This year, Chavez was looking for a way to do something impactful with her spring break vacation and turned to the Casey Feldman Foundation. She applied and became one of our Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients, traveling to Seattle, Washington to learn about youth in poverty and help build tiny homes for the homeless.

In order to provide for herself and her two sisters, Chavez’s parents moved from Mexico to the United States. Though her parents did not get the chance to attain a college degree themselves, they stressed the importance of education to Chavez. She combined this passion, along with her desire to help others, and began her first volunteer venture: tutoring younger neighborhood kids. Chavez continued to serve as a volunteer tutor in her community through high school, eventually branching out to helping in the local elementary school as well. To this day, Chavez still finds time to regularly tutor the children for whom she babysits.

As a ninth grade student, Chavez got the opportunity to travel with a group called Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow to volunteer in Utah. The program had a two-fold purpose: to enhance the participants’ leadership skills while also teaching them the importance of helping those around them. Since that moment, Chavez has desired to go on other volunteer trips to help communities in need, but was never able to do to the cost. When she found out about the Foundation’s alternative spring break program, Chavez knew she had to apply. “The life that Casey Feldman led is a fantastic reflection of how much positive change one person can be responsible for,” she said. “I have always believed in the power of volunteering as a mechanism to bringing positive change to people who truly need it.”

Chavez travelled to Seattle, Washington to partner with the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), an organization that, according to their website, “develops, owns and operates housing for the benefit of low-income, homeless and formerly homeless people in Washington State; advocates for just housing policies at the local and national levels; and administers a range of supportive service programs to assist those we serve in maintaining stable housing and increasing their self-sufficiency.”

The students worked with the LIHI to build a village of tiny homes for people were homeless. In addition to physically building the homes, the students met with community leaders to learn about the various issues that impact the homeless and had the chance to interact and provide educational opportunities to homeless youth.

“The alternative break served as an amazing opportunity to understand a new perspective on youth in poverty,” Chavez said of her trip. For her, the hardest part of the trip was not the manual labor, but seeing others struggle.

While on the trip, Chavez had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the inhabitants of the tiny houses—those conversations turned onto her most memorable moments. “I found it fascinating to learn about their experiences, and at the same time it was heartwarming to see them doing better and being appreciative of where they currently are. Everything was very real in that the people did not have a big movie ending, and they still have their personalities related to their experiences. It helped keep me from looking at them as anything other than people who could easily be my friend or family member. There was no movie ending in which everything was perfect, but most of the people there found that having a place to live was the first step in getting their life back.”

Chavez returned from the trip determined to raise more awareness for the issue in her own community. She talked to her friends and family about what she learned from the experience and pledged to start taking direct action in helping the homeless of Boulder. Her action started small. “I did small things like take the food from school events to the homeless community in Colorado,” she recounted, but hopes to accomplish bigger things in the future.

“I truly appreciated this experience. Learning more about myself and the community in Boulder left an impact on me that I will take with me for the rest of my life,” she said. Chavez thinks that Casey would be proud of what the students accomplished in Seattle and thinks Casey would have enjoyed the trip as well. “I would not doubt that Casey Feldman would have enjoyed spending her time learning about the community in Seattle. Our volunteer work with the community would have enhanced her understanding of the community she helped at the West End Homeless Shelter in NYC.”

One of the tiney houses built for the homeless in Seattle

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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).

 

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).