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.


*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.

Another great day of service on Casey’s 6th “angelversary”

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

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It was another great year of service on Casey’s 6th “angelversary”  at Magee Rehabilitation  Hospital in Philadelphia with approximately 35 or so supporters.  Our Casey Feldman Foundation volunteers performed chores such as gardening, outdoor cleanup, washing the Magee vans and doing paperwork.  A lunchtime ceremony followed with Casey’s parents, Joel and Dianne highlighting some of the Foundation’s work and Magee’s Mark Chilutti explaining the future expansion project for the patient therapy center. In addition, occupational therapist Christine  Reinheimer provided the volunteers with a demonstration of just how significant the Casey Foundation’s sponsored facility dog, Joey, has made in the lives of patients.

View all of the photos from the 2015 day of service here in the Casey Feldman Photo Gallery.

See what the Casey Feldman Foundation has accomplished in its first 5 years, “Five Years – A Legacy of Good”. 


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Alternative Spring Break Scholarships Fostering a Generation Who Wants to Give Back

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Since 2010, The Casey Feldman Foundation has awarded 29 scholarship stipends (36 as of 2015) to college students at CU who have chosen to have an “Alternative Spring Break”. These students perform a week of service in a community in some part of the United States. Their service has included addressing urban poverty, educating youth, feeding the poor, rebuilding communities torn apart by natural disasters, preserving the environment or wildlife, or working in some aspect of animal welfare, among many other forms of “giving back” to our world. Our 4 recipients for 2014 –  Bethany Bernard, Jennah Schein, Kailey Hassan-Wolff and Priyanka Sharma Guragain, were among some 111 students at CU who chose to volunteer their time for the greater good. These students often report that the experience changed their life and many choose to alter their future plans, change majors and incorporate service to others into their career goals.

The students must pay for the costs of their trip to cover transportation (by motor vehicle), food and basic lodging. Unfortunately, many students who would like to participate cannot afford to. There are so many inspirational fulltime students who are putting themselves through college; they have student loans, work, volunteer locally and cannot scrape the money together for the “luxury” of a spring break trip. Our scholarship stipends are based on financial need. It is with regret each year when we have to turn away qualified applicants.

Support our efforts in fostering a generation who want to make this world a better place and assist us in increasing the number of students who are able to participate. Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation.

Related Links:

About the Alternative Spring Break Program

“Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities”

Casey Feldman Foundation Alternative Spring Break Blog News (scroll down through blog for all articles)

Alternative Breaks Program connects CU students to communities – See more at:

AB 2014 infograph


Casey Feldman Foundation Sponsors Spay/Neuter Day & More at Animal Shelter

Friday, June 6th, 2014

By Dianne L. Anderson

Casey had a kind heart, and that kind heart extended not just to humans, but to animals as well.  Among its many endeavors, the Casey Feldman Foundation has sought to honor Casey’s love for  animals in numerous ways. The most recent is a grant to Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), through which  a Casey Feldman Foundation Spay/Neuter Day  has been scheduled for this Wednesday, June 11, 2014. As a result of this grant, four to five animals will be spayed and neutered.

Funds from this grant have also supported, Helga, a dog in need of medical care and will establish the “Casey Cam”, a camera installed in the training room to facilitate training classes and further volunteer education of animal training. Casey’s long time friend from Springfield, PA, Rachael Kemmey, who volunteers her time with the Foundation, organized this event and the distribution of funds with MLAR.

Casey's friend, Rachael Kemmey, greets some of the many animals at MLAR in Jan. while touring the facility with Casey's parents

Why spay and neuter? Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. – and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. Nationwide, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually (The Humane Society of the United States).  This sad and enormous number is as a result of un-spayed and un-neutered animals. One un-spayed female dog and one un-neutered male dog and their offspring can produce 4,372 puppies in 7 years. For cats it is even worse. One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring results in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.

Helga - beautiful, but not happy wearing a cone!

Often, these animals arrive at MLAR and other shelters in need of medical care that goes beyond the basic and routine. Helga is just one of those animals.

A 5 year old German Sheppard who was rescued from a puppy mill, Helga had spent the previous 5 years in a rabbit hutch. She tried to rip off her own tail, which unfortunately had to be removed by the veterinary staff at MLAR. Helga was a spinner, commonly seen in dogs from puppy mills who have been confined in hutches; they spin for stimulation and to self soothe. Because Helga continued to spin after her surgery, trying to get to her absent tail, she was kept in a cone for an extended period of time. Helga was treated with several medications and has worked with a dedicated volunteer to help her gain the confidence needed to overcome her issues. After spending many weeks in the clinic under the watchful eyes of the MLAR medical staff, Helga is now in the main kennel and doing very well. It is not surprising that Helga enjoys exercise, something that was absent in the first 5 years of her life.

A limited number of supporters of the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation who are animal lovers are invited to attend the event on Wednesday. The schedule is as follows:

Agenda for June 11:

Helga after her surgery

10:00 am – Representatives from the Casey Feldman Foundation arrive at the medical clinic

10:00am – 12:00pm

 Dr. Meg and Megan Anderson (Director of Animal Welfare and Enrichment) will introduce the animals before they go into surgery and share their stories.

 Clinic staff will share additional stories about the other animals currently in the clinic.

 Photos as appropriate

 Bring Helga down from the kennel for a visit.

 12:00pm – lunch will be provided in the development conference room

Spaces are limited. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by Monday, June 8, 2014 by sending an email to [email protected]

3 of the 4 of Casey's and the Feldman's rescued cats

Please consider making a donation to the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation so that we may continue our good work in Casey’s memory.

One of the cat lounges at MLAR








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


July 17th Day of Service Scheduled to Honor Casey Feldman’s Memory

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Casey and Nikki - Oct. 2008, Ridley Creek State Park

July 17th this year will be spent doing service work to honor Casey’s memory on this first anniversary of her death.

Casey and her dad with Annie, Fall of 2000

The first service project lined up is at  Francisvale Home For Smaller Animals, a no-kill shelter in Radnor, Pa. which has been operating for over 100 years. Volunteers will work from mid morning to mid afternoon painting the interior of their small building. The day will conclude later in the evening for food and fellowship at the Feldman home. Other projects are being lined up in additional areas for those who are not local to the Philadelphia area.

Casey was an animal lover, having everything from chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, lizards, fish, turtles and of course, cats and dogs while growing up. She was a big advocate of adoption and all of the household pets were strays and adoptees in need of a home. The family German Shepards all came from German Shepard Rescue of Southeastern Pa, which included a beautiful tribute to Casey in their Summer 2009 Newsletter. While at college at Fordham University, Casey would get her “animal fix” and need to give back by volunteering at Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter in NYC. The first puppy that came into the shelter after Casey’s death was named “Casey” in her memory.

Consider joining us on July 17th. View the July 17th event on the Network site at and RSVP. If you are not a member of that site, consider joining. You need not have known Casey personally to become a member. Otherwise, RSVP here in the comment section below or consider your own way of honoring Casey’s memory on July 17th.

Casey’s family, friends, loved ones and those touched by her story look forward to a wonderful day of service to remember Casey.

Casey's friends Brooke Burdge and Kelsey Butler at Animal Haven with the puppy given the honorary name of Casey

Three of Casey's four family kitties. Cindy (top), Sandy and Blizzard.

Casey and her cousin Chris' Rottweiler, Sasha - Sept. 2007