Immigrant Scholarship Recipient Hopes to Pursue a Medical Career

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

By Morgan Steward*

 

Our Alternative Spring Break Scholarship recipient, Gabriela Solano Serna has had to overcome many challenges in her young life. Emigrating from Mexico at age 10, Gabriela and her family left behind everything in order to start a new life in the United States. Unable to receive any government aid, including food stamps, medical care or scholarships through FAFSA, Gabriela and her family have struggled to make ends meet. But, instead of discouraging Gabriela, it has motivated her to volunteer in her community to make a difference for those facing hardships like her family.

The Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship stipend enabled Gabriela to travel to Atlanta last year over her spring break to work with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC). The alternative spring break trip was one of many organized by the Volunteer Resource Center at the University of Colorado Boulder where Gabriela is a student. The AHRC  works to build relationships with individuals who are either suffering from or in danger of contracting HIV/AIDS, STD’s and Hepatitis Viruses and is the only comprehensive harm reduction program in the entire state of Georgia.

During her week in Atlanta, Gabriela did a lot of hands-on work with the coalition in underprivileged communities and visited the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about the long-term benefits of the work she just participated in. One activity in particular stood out to Gabriela—a needle exchange. A needle exchange is a program that provides drug users with clean needles to prevent them from sharing and re-using contaminated needles, thus drastically lowering the chance of spreading diseases like HIV and AIDS.

“We helped distribute and make safety packs, which [are handed out] to individuals during the needle exchange in a poor community known as the ‘Bluff,’” Gabriela explained.  “After visiting and interacting with individuals from this neighborhood, I was able to see the unprivileged side of the community and learn how the state plays a role in helping the community.”

“I would say that this opportunity helped me—it was definitely an eye opener, but [also] a motivation to pursue a career in the medical field,” Gabriela explained. She hopes to use her talents to become an Obstetrician Gynecologist to honor her sister who passed away in Mexico due to the lack of medical attention.

So what does this remarkable scholarship recipient hope to accomplish in the future? “I am passionate about providing medical care to those in the US that struggle every day to sustain families and who do not have as much access to adequate medical assistance, public benefits (like Medicare) or health care insurance as other privileged groups do,” Gabriela said. As an undocumented immigrant herself, Gabriela’s future plans also include opening a clinic to provide medical assistance, regardless of the patients’ immigration status.

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morga -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).

Scholarship Recipient Volunteers in Aftermath of Louisiana Flood

Friday, 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.

2013 Scholarship Recipient Creates Health and Wellness Business

Wednesday, 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).

John Guerin Awarded 2017 Fordham University Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship

Monday, January 16th, 2017

By Peter Force*

John Guerin

Fordham University scholarship recipient John Guerin will be interning at Film Comment Magazine this spring semester

We are proud to announce that this year, the Fordham University Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to John Guerin, a dual major in both Film and English at the Fordham College Lincoln Center campus. The scholarship money will benefit him during his unpaid spring internship at Film Comment Magazine, where he will work in the editorial department. This opportunity is a dream come true for John, who says he couldn’t be more excited “to work alongside writers I greatly admire and for a magazine of which I’ve long been a reader.”

The Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship was first awarded in 2010 and has since assisted Fordham University Fordham College Lincoln Center  students with internships at CNN, Fox News, Redbook Magazine, the Museum of Modern Art, and now, Film Comment Magazine. Specifically, the scholarship is awarded annually to a student in the Communications and Media Studies department, Casey’s alma mater and her field of study at the time of her death. The scholarship helps by awarding students who take an unpaid internship with a $3,000 stipend that, in John Guerin’s words, “will ensure my ability to afford living in New York City while working toward a career in media through a coveted internship.”

Because of the competitiveness of any media or communications department in New York City,  most who pursue a career there will start off by essentially doing volunteer work for magazines and news outlets,  while going to school at the same time. The Casey A. Feldman Memorial Scholarship recognizes students in financial need who are trying to make their dreams come true in such a competitive environment.

During the Spring and fall of 2016 John Guerin interned at the film distribution company Kino Lorber, an essential branch of the film industry. While John is grateful for his time spent at Kino and all that he learned there about distribution, he says he is looking forward to his internship at Film Comment because “it combines my love of film and my interest in writing. In pursuing a career in media, either in an academic, editorial or business setting, such an internship grants me the experience needed to unlock doors, hone my skills, and ultimately begin a professional career.” Aspects of this internship include “copy- editing content for both print and digital articles, conducting interviews with filmmakers, and assisting writers and editors in ensuring the success of the magazine.”

Congratulations, John! We wish you the best of luck at Film Comment Magazine, and hope that this experience will be a stepping stone to your success.

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

2016 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Alyssa Figueiredo Sets Her Sights on Nursing

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Alyssa Figueiredo

Alyssa Figueirdo

Alyssa Figueirdo was awarded the Springfield High School (Casey’s alma mater)  Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship this year not only for her academic prowess–she managed to take on the extra coursework of AP and honors classes while still remaining at the top of her class–but for her continued devotion to volunteer work and humanitarian extracurricular activities. After learning of all the many ways Alyssa has challenged herself to help others through high school, we’re not surprised at all to hear that, after a semester of finding her footing at The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, she has decided to pursue a career in nursing.

Here’s just a partial rundown of Alyssa’s achievements in high school that got her the nomination, and the scholarship: She is part of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Leadership Team, where she helped to organize participation in the annual Philly Aids Walk and raised funds for Valley Youth House (a safe house for homeless LGBQT youth). In her senior year she attended West Chester University’s GSA Leadership Conference where she co-led a workshop on how to run a GSA with a focus on social activism. She was also a member of the Community Service Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and part of SHS’s annual Dance Marathon, which raises funds for the fight against pediatric cancer.

That’s in addition to her being part of the school’s Med-Tech team: a small group of students who arrive at school early (6:30 am, to be precise) and travel to local hospitals where they experience first-hand what it takes to be in the medical profession on a daily basis.

And those are just her school extracurriculars. She also volunteered at at St. Christopher’s Hospital in the Child Life Department and shadowed doctors in the Neurology Department. At The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Alyssa has joined the Alliance (a club similar to the GSA she led at SHS), and is a member of Kickstart Kid’s Hearts, a club that raises money for the PA Chapter of the Children’s Heart Foundation.

After taking a course on medical careers through the Delaware County Technical School, Alyssa decided that through nursing she “can make more of an impact on my patients’ lives since nurses are the ones who see them the majority of the time. With nursing I will get more clinical experience, which would help me to be a better doctor, should I choose to attend medical school.”  After graduating from high school, Alyssa volunteered in the Sleep Lab at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children this past summer before she headed off to college.

Alyssa wears her pink Casey Feldman bracelet every day and welcomes the “opportunity to spread awareness every time I get asked about it.”

We salute you, Alyssa, not only for spreading awareness of the potentially tragic consequences of distracted driving, but for truly embodying the spirit and generosity of Casey in all of your endeavors.

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

Bridget Clawson, 2012 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Pursues Her Dreams

Monday, December 12th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Bridget Clawson 2016

Bridget with her friend’s new baby in Nov. “I take care of babies all night at work but still nothing beats this.”

What has Bridget Clawson been up to? Since receiving the Springfield High School (SHS) Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Scholarship in 2012 to attend Temple University for nursing… the answer is, well, a lot! After graduating from Temple with her B.S. in nursing and passing her NCLEX exams in May, she told us that as “the year 2016 has been my busiest year-to-date for sure!” We all know how much time and energy nurses put into caring for their patients and Bridget is no exception. But she’s been keeping herself busy in a variety of different ways, too, in addition to her day (and sometimes night) job.

Working in the healthcare field has always been a passion of Bridget’s – she’s wanted to be a nurse since she was in 5th grade, specifically in the maternity and pediatric fields. “All of this happening now is just the culmination of a dream I’ve had forever” she said. She officially began working at the Lankenau Medical Center this July after putting in time as an extern for over a year. But it’s not only the babies she’s passionate about – she also said that helping the mothers “during probably the newest, most exciting part of their journeys gives me so much joy.”

As demanding as being a maternity nurse can be, Bridget has far greater ambitions. Her passions for yoga and meditation go back to her time in high school, but have especially helped to center herself during the stressful transition from college to the professional working world. She hopes in the future to continue working with children and parents alike by sharing what she has learned during her yoga training. “I firmly believe that bringing mindfulness to the community is so important. It makes us better people,” she told us. Bridget will finish her 200-hour Svadhyaya Yoga Teacher Training course at Priya Hot Yoga in January 2017 which culminates when she teaches her first community class.

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds from the 1st community yoga class that Bridget will teach in Jan. will benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

In the near future, Bridget has a trip to Iceland planned and hopes to continue traveling abroad at least once a year for as long as she can, whether it be for service or just the thrill of experiencing new cultures. She recently completed a course in photography that will help her document her travels and her yoga practices. She also loves to write and plans on starting up a blog to document her experiences.

As for the not-so-near future? “Going to school for an advanced nursing degree is always in the back of my mind,” she told us, in addition to continuing her yoga training in meditation, reiki, and other holistic health practices. Most importantly, “having Casey in the back of my mind to this day still drives me to make a difference in the world.”

We’re so proud of you Bridget, for your hard-earned successes and your desire to continue striving for the betterment of yourself and your community!

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

 

Bryan O’Hagan is Awarded the Latest Computer Science Scholarship to Aid a Non-Profit

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

By Morgan Steward*

Bryan O'Hagan (seated center) with Casey's parents and Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients Cynthia Mendoza (R) and Katie Heinen

Bryan O”Hagan (seated center) with Casey’s parents and Alternative Spring Break scholarship recipients Cynthia Mendoza (R) and Katie Heinen

Bryan O’Hagan, a University of Colorado Boulder student, is the latest recipient of a Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation computer science scholarship. The scholarship provides a stipend to a student to provide computer and IT services to a non-profit organization which does not  have the funds necessary to meet the technology needs necessary to advance their mission. It gives the student the opportunity to practice his or her computer science and IT skills in a real-world setting and at the same time, experience the joy of community service.

“I enjoy working for organizations that promote a strong social cause,” O’Hagan explained. This is what initially enticed him to apply for the Foundation’s computer science scholarship in the first place.

O’Hagan first became interested in computer programming and web development after taking a course in the subject at the University of Colorado. “I instantly fell in love [with] the endless possibilities a developer can create on the web,” O’Hagan explained. With this newfound passion discovered, he then became determined to find an internship in the field in an effort to continue to develop the skills he learned in this class.

O’Hagan chose to work for Natural Capitalism Solutions, a company that educates senior decision-makers in business, government and civil society about the principles of sustainability.  The Longmont, Colorado company does this by creating practical tools and simple implementation strategies for companies, communities and countries.

During his internship, O’Hagan was able to learn several valuable industry skills. “I was able to learn so much,” O’Hagan explained. “I [got] a better understanding of industry tools, coding languages, and web development techniques.”

However, O’Hagan also learned a different valuable skill set: communication skills. Through this position, O’Hagan was charged with working directly with clients to provide them the technological services they required. “This was my first experience where I had to work with a client,” he said. “I enjoyed the process of brainstorming ideas, creating a plan, and finally creating a website that both the customer and I enjoyed.”

In total, O’Hagan redesigned three of Natural Capitalism Solution’s websites—a task that the company would not have been able to do without him.

Participating in this program made O’Hagan realize that he wished to pursue web development and computer services as a career after he graduates from the University of Colorado Boulder.

“The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Computer Science Program is one of the highlights of my college career,” O’Hagan said. “I hope other students can find their passion through this program.”

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morgan-steward2-1-150x150*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.

“It’s a Great Day to Be Alive…” Cynthia Mendoza, 2016 Foundation Scholarship Recipient

Monday, November 14th, 2016

By Morgan Steward

Cynthia MendozaCynthia Mendoza seems to have her life figured out. A 2016 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Mendoza obtained a certificate in public health while double majoring in both Integrative Physiology and Psychology and is currently in the process of applying to dental school. But what ties these four fields together? Mendoza’s desire to make a difference in her community and help others. This passion made Mendoza the perfect recipient of the 2016 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship.

Growing up in a household where her father worked two jobs while her mother stayed at home and cared for the kids, Mendoza was aware that money was always tight, yet never felt as if she was missing anything. “I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving family where not having much really did not feel like a burden. Growing up in a low-income family made me appreciate everything and not take anything for granted,” Mendoza explained.

Although this situation forced Mendoza to grow up quickly, it left her able to truly understand and appreciate all that she had in life. “… Everything has taught me something special. I have strong values that are so important to me, such as the importance of giving, loving and caring for others—things that I would have not really understood if it was not for my upbringing.”

Choosing to live life by the philosophy that “It’s a great day to be alive,” Mendoza  tries to “take every day as a blessing.” It was this mantra, in conjunction with her upbringing that influenced Mendoza to want to spend the rest of her life serving others.

Her career of service began in college, where she served as a medical assistant, phlebotomy tech in the university’s medical clinic, and Co-President of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority Inc., a sorority which helps promote education and community service. “The ability to be part of people’s memories and help influence them to help their communities, like I was, is something I hope to do for others,” Mendoza explained. “[The] little things may be the biggest impact people will hold in their hearts for a lifetime.”

When Mendoza applied for the 2016 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship, her  genuine love for serving others made her the ideal candidate. With the scholarship, she was able to spend a week in Atlanta, Georgia, volunteering with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, an organization which is devoted to improving the quality of life for individuals affected with HIV/AIDS in communities with limited resources.

“My time in Atlanta left a huge mark in my heart,” Mendoza explained.  “I learned so much from this wonderful experience!” The week-long service trip was spent doing a variety of tasks including making and distributing HIV kits to impoverished neighborhoods, informing individuals how to prevent spreading and contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and assisting in needle exchanges. Volunteers were also able to go on tours of Aid Atlanta and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about the issues plaguing not only Atlanta, but the rest of the world.

“[The trip] greatly reinforced my commitment to work in the healthcare field,” Mendoza said. “I am very passionate about health and helping different communities with health disparities seen worldwide. I… hope to one day apply what I have learned to socially disadvantaged populations.”

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morgan-steward2-1-150x150Morgan 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.

 

 

“ I want to help others in any way that I can” – Vi-Thuy Vo, Scholarship Recipient

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

By Adriana Gallina*

Thuyvi VoVi-Thuy Vo is currently a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder. While she is still deciding whether to go into high school counseling or join the public health field, there’s one thing she is sure about: “What I want to actually do in life, is help others in any way that I can.”

“I am proud to be a first generation student who works hard to create my own path for success in my family,” Vi-Thuy wrote. While she loves her family and continues to be a role model for her sister thirteen years her junior, she is financially independent.

Her selflessness and devotion to serving others is what made this psychology major the perfect recipient for the 2015 Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Scholarship. The scholarship allowed her to take part in the Harm Reduction: Promoting Health and Prevention Trip based in Atlanta Georgia.

Receiving this scholarship helped relieve some of the monetary burden of volunteering and allowed her to “provide direct service to those who need it most.”

On her trip she worked with four groups, one being the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Another group was Aniz, Inc, which offers support, counseling and HIV testing to those in need. Ana’s spring break trip also took her to the the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC) a wellness organization that focuses on the health of marginalized communities and  the Shepard Center, a rehabilitation center that helps people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease.

Vi-Thuy was most excited to work in a new environment with people from diverse backgrounds.

She learned a lot from the Shephard Center about how to interact and work with people with disabilities. “Alternative Breaks definitely made me appreciate how privileged I am,” Vi-Thuy said.

“I worked with two different communities in Atlanta to reduce harm especially with sexual health disparities, which include HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, Hepatitis and other diseases,” she said.

“Working with the AHRC, I learned so much more about public health in different environments and how important it is to adapt to that environment and community you’re working with,”  Vi-Thuy said.

“Being on this trip also reminded me about the different levels people are at and how important it is to be mindful and use all-inclusive language,” she reflected.

Vi-Thuy said she came back from this trip with much more knowledge and a new appreciation for the communities she is a part of.

With this experience, she pledged, “I will continue to help promote and educate the health and wellness topics that matter to our community here at Boulder.”

At Boulder, she continues her work at Community Health, which is the public health division of Wardenburg Health Center which provides health care for all CU students.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that other students may experience the rewards of 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 for all articles)

Vi-Thuy Vo and her fellow CU students at the Center fo Disease Control in Atlanta

Vi-Thuy Vo and her fellow CU students at the Center fo Disease Control in Atlanta

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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.

“If everyone had her sense of giving there would be less suffering” – Our 2015 SHS Scholarship Recipient

Friday, December 4th, 2015
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Erin Gamble

By Dianne L. Anderson*

One could not think of a more deserving recipient of the annual scholarship that bears Casey’s name at her high school alma mater than Erin Gamble. Recommended by her Springfield High School (SHS) teacher, Pat Delaney, Erin received a scholarship from the Casey Feldman Foundation to attend Mount Saint Mary’s University this year where she is majoring in health science in hopes of becoming of a nurse or physical therapist.

During high school Erin volunteered each summer for the Appalachia Service Project, where she repaired homes for low income families in Central Appalachia making their humble abodes warm, safe and dry.  She also volunteered at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and made meals for Aids For Friends – an outreach program for the elderly.  In school, Erin was part of Freshmen Mentors, The Turkey Fund and the Steve Stefani Dance Marathon which raises money to fight childhood cancer.  Erin found time for all of these charitable activites while playing varsity soccer, running track and maintaining a focus on her studies.

In recommending Erin for the scholarship, Pat Delaney stated, ” Erin is a student who will work with ANY other student in the classroom, with a welcoming, cheery smile.  It amazes me to see her optimism shine through in situations that would stymie many others.   Erin’s compassion for others – in the classroom, in her community, and in the world is humbling to observe. If everyone had her sense of giving there would be less suffering.”

Erin is currently winding down her first semester in college where she played division I soccer, contributing to one of Mount Saint Mary’s best seasons ever. She has continued her service in college,  participating in organizing a campus Special Olympics as well as working to repair a home in Philadelphia for a needy family.  According to Erin,  “Now that my schedule is loosening up and soccer is over for the season, I look forwarding to engaging in more service work!”

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Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

Dianne and Casey, Christmas 2006

*Dianne Andersonis the mother of the late Casey Feldman and co-founder of the The Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project, EndDD.org.