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

Friday, September 25th, 2015

By Jennifer Geiringer*

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Scholarship Recipient Vows to Leave this World a Better Place

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

Jamie Haller (L) priming drywall

“My week in New Orleans helping to rebuild a home destroyed by Hurricane Katrina was incredible and by far, one of the most rewarding weeks of my life”, reported Jamie Haller, a 2012 recipient of a Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break scholarship stipend.

A junior and international relations major and education minor at the University of Colorado – Boulder, Jamie has been raised by a single mother for the past 8 years and works year round to pay for her own tuition, books and living expenses.  With no money left to spare to cover the expenses of the trip, Jamie was extremely grateful to the Casey Feldman Foundation for the $500 stipend.

Jamie and her fellow volunteers stayed at a church in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans–the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.”I was shocked to see how much work has yet to be done in the area, certain streets felt like ghost towns with the large number of empty lots and remains of houses”, stated Jamie. “ It is hard to believe that these people have gone through so much and yet their upbeat spirit has remained–it is truly inspirational to see.”

The students working on Betty's house

Jamie and a team of student volunteers spent 4 days working with the non-profit, St.Bernard Project which has rebuilt over 445 homes in the greater New Orleans area since 2006. Jamie and her fellow volunteers worked on the home of an elderly woman, “Betty”, whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The students “mudded”, sanded and primed drywall, caulked, primed and painted the exterior of the house and laid down linoleum on the interior floors.

“I’m happy that Betty will soon be able to live in a healthy and clean environment”, said Jamie. “It was so great seeing how quickly things can come together when you have such a great team working alongside one another”.

What are Jamie’s pans for the future upon graduation? Ms. Haller plans on joining the Peace Corps, after which she hopes to work on developing education plans in West Africa.”I want to leave this world a better place than when I found it”, said Jamie.

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

Jamie Haller cauking the exterior of Betty's home

Related Links:

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

St. Bernard 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