The Faces – 2013’s Alternative Spring Break Scholarship Recipients

Saturday, May 11th, 2013
Mikaela Aroff

Mikaela Aroff

By Dianne L. Anderson

Last month, students from the University of Colorado at Boulder spent their spring break doing service through the Alternative Spring Break program. These students used their weeklong vacation time to travel to different areas of the country to volunteer with various nonprofit organizations. This opportunity was provided to five students through scholarship stipends from the Casey Feldman Foundation. Read their stories:

Mikaela Aroff–  A senior, Mikaela is double majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and environmental studies and is dedicated to pursuing a career in saving the environment for animals and protecting their habitat. Despite loosing her parents at the age of 14, this young woman has surged forward. Mikaela has done work with turtle conservation and fish behavior,  as well as recycling, through her employment with the CU Intermediate Unit. Mikaela currently works on campus with the Dennis Small Cultural Center, planning events focused around social justice and promoting multiculturalism and diversity. Mikaela spent her spring break in Moab, Utah with the nonprofit organization, Plateau working on habitat restoration, re-vegetation, erosion control, and exotic species removal.

Lee Phan

Lee Phan–   Lee’s immigrant parents came to this country with only the clothes on their back. While Lee experienced a childhood with a loving family,  sometimes there was  a shortage of the basics, including food on the table. Paying for college on her own, Lee has also found the time to include volunteer work in her schedule, reporting, “It is among my passion to give back to the underprivileged.”  Lee utilized her scholarship stipend to spend her spring week in San Francisco volunteering with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the underprivileged. Lee’s time was also spent exploring related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.

Charlotte Thompson

Charlotte Thompson– Charlotte works at the CU Volunteer Resource Center and hopes, upon graduation, to find work with a non-profit which addresses a social or environmental issue.  Charlotte has spent much of her young life helping others through service work, reporting that her passion for volunteering all started during her 12 years as a girl scout. Charlotte spent her alternative spring break week in Cincinnati addressing urban poverty and homelessness while working with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. “The issue of homelessness and poverty is an issue that I hope to help fix,” reports Charlotte.

Haley DiRenzo

Hailey DiRenzo– Hailey spent her spring break working with children in Atlanta, Georgia with the Medici Project in an area where 50% of the children do not graduate from high school. She is devoted to helping children learn the value of an education and to making youth feel empowered. “I want kids to understand and feel  that no matter where they come from or what amount of money they have, they have the ability to do anything they really want to”, said Hailey. Hailey also works two part time jobs in addition to volunteering her time with youth in Boulder and ultimately hopes to go to law school and perform public service law.

Kailee Caranta

Kailee Caranta– A sophomore environmental studies major, Kailee works two jobs to help put herself through college and performs service work, including serving breakfast every other Saturday at the North Boulder Homeless Shelter. Growing up in a family where alcoholism and addiction was an issue, new clothes and luxuries did not come often. Kailee has recognized that homelessness is not just something that can happen to other people. Kailee sees medical school as an ultimate goal, wanting to be a DO and specialize as an OBGYN, “Because I am a woman wanting to help other women.”  Kailee spent her spring break week in San Francisco, as did Lee Phan, on a nutrition and wellness week working with Glide, an organization that serves 3 nutritious meals a day to the needy,  as she explored related issues such as homelessness, poverty and economic turndown.

Way to go 2013 Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipients!

Please contribute to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that additional deserving students may experience the joy of community service.

Related Links:

Casey's parents, Joel and Dianne with the 2013 scholarship recipients

“For some CU-Boulder students, spring break a chance to do good”,  by Brittany Anas, The Daily Camera, 3-22-2013

University of Colorado Boulder Volunteer Resource Center (Plans and organizes Alternative Spring Break trips for students at CU)


–  Glide

Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless

Medici Project

Helping our children experience the gift of helping others, article in the Fall CU Parent Newsletter by Casey Feldman’s parents, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson in which they discuss the establishment of the Alternative Spring Break scholarships in Casey’s memory

Casey Feldman Inspiration video , produced by CU Boulder broadcast journalism student Kylie Bearse and which aired on CU Boulder TV News, concerning the Alternative Spring Break program and the scholarships established in Casey’s memory

Previous  articles on the Casey Feldman Foundation News and Updates about the Alternative Spring Break Program and the many scholarship recipients who have benefited


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.”