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.

Scholarship Recipient Undergoes a Life Altering Experience Through Urban Poverty Trip

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

By Dianne L. Anderson*

Amy Moore-Shipley, camera in hand

“My spring break was a life-altering experience founded in volunteering, education and social justice,” said Amy Moore- Shipley, who received a Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship to travel to Cincinnati on an urban poverty trip with a group of other students over spring break from college this year. The college students volunteered with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, in a City which ranks 7th in the nation for the highest percentage of residents living in poverty, and where some 7,000 residents are homeless. One out of every three children lives in poverty. The itinerary for the trip was filled with advocate speakers, interactive activities and volunteer work with those in need.

Moore-Shipley and her fellow student volunteers worked with preschoolers in a community center, served hundreds of meals in drop-in kitchens and cleaned up yards for low-income housing programs. The students also cooked for a family on a food stamp budget, navigated the city for resources for the homeless and created a mock drop-in shelter. (more…)

Memorial Fund Recipient Helps the Homeless

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Clockwise from bottom left: Laurence Gendelman, Brett West, Ilana Radomsky, Robyn Hecht, Alicia Beaman, Danielle Sandoval

Danielle Sandoval, who received a scholarship from the Casey Feldman Memorial Fund for the Alternative Breaks Program recently traveled to Cincinnati to work at the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Danielle, who is a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder went on her alternative spring break with fellow classmates, and had the opportunity to work with various organizations committed to working on hunger, homelessness, urban poverty and racism.

The group spent their mornings doing service work that included serving meals, cleaning, and delivering lunches to day labor workers, with afternoons spent doing hands-on activities that allowed the students to learn what it is like to be homeless, such as eating lunch on food stamps.

“The people we met were amazing, and strong, and hopeful… and yet so broken,” Danielle said. “It made me truly appreciate the opportunities that I have in life.”

Upon Danielle’s return from her life-changing trip, she continues her service work, serving meals with Colorado Friendship, and she has plans to start working with homeless youth with a program called StandUp for Kids.

Danielle is grateful for the chance to go on this trip because of the Casey Feldman Memorial Fund. “I wanted to say thank you for the scholarship and the opportunity to volunteer on a trip that changed my life,” she told the Feldmans. She added, “Because of Casey, I will appreciate every opportunity that is sent my way, and work to improve the lives of others so they can be given opportunities to succeed as well.”