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MAJOR FIELD OF STUDY: Communication Arts
CURRENT EMPLOYER: Casey Cares Foundation
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Founder and Executive Director of Non-Profit Organization
DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER PATH:
I have always been involved in philanthropic projects but I never imagined that I would start my own foundation, much less make it my full-time passion! I was running my family's trucking and warehouse company and decided to start a small foundation. I was just 23 and started with just $2,500 to help out a handful of families with critically ill kids. Things just took off from there. I started taking on more and more families and just could not say no. Now 15 years later, we have engaged more than 80,000 program participants! We started in Baltimore and continue to be headquartered here but today we work with families from West Virginia to New Jersey. We have grown our foundation's programming and in addition to taking families to sporting events and local attractions, we provide pajamas at hospitals throughout the Mid-Atlantic and make sure to celebrate each of our children's birthdays! This year alone, we will have more than 750 children in our programs!
MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED WHILE ATTENDING SALISBURY UNIVERSITY:
I think the most important thing I learned while I was at Salisbury was creating and maintaining lasting relationships. One of the people I met at Salisbury was Erin Webb Ritter, who graduated from Salisbury in 1999. Erin is the deputy director at Casey Cares and I truly never would have met her if we had not both gone to Salisbury. Erin was roommates with my best friend. Erin and I have very different backgrounds and interests but we became friends and that friendship continues today.
WHAT CAMPUS ACTIVITIES/ORGANIZATIONS WERE YOU INVOLVED WITH?
The one activity I was really involved with while I was at Salisbury was getting involved with political campaigns. I vividly remember canvasing for candidates on campus and in the city of Salisbury. It was a great foundation for the work I do today.
BEST COLLEGE MEMORY:
My best college memory is being by the beach. I had always spent family vacations on the beach, and one reason why I wanted to be at Salisbury was that I could be by the beach as a young adult, too.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY?
I chose Salisbury because I wanted a strong liberal arts education. I loved the location, being close to the beach and close to my family. I grew up in Columbia, Maryland, so I was close to home but far enough away to be on my own.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE SALISBURY UNIVERSITY IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?
Community. Friendship. Inspirational. Salisbury is small enough to create a close-knit community, and I really enjoyed campus life and being in town. The town really embraces the university so you feel the college spirit everywhere you go. The friends I made at Salisbury continue to be some of my closest friends today. I am glad I was introduced to a great group of people. My time at Salisbury was very inspirational as well. I was active politically and my professors gave me great advice and guidance when it came to communications. They helped me see that the possibilities were endless. I learned the importance of being part of something bigger than myself by being on campus.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT AND WHY?
My favorite vacation spot is the beach! How great was it to be a college student at my favorite vacation spot?
My greatest accomplishment is that I am able to live out my passion. I help people every day. Probably my next greatest accomplishment is that I have never had to turn away a child in need for financial reasons. We have built strong relationships with our sponsors and donors and they have made that happen. It is a huge undertaking but so rewarding.
WHAT IS SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Some people don't know that I have dyslexia. I was diagnosed when I was in second grade and struggled with reading for years. Over the years, I learned how to overcome a very difficult challenge. I was able to graduate from college and went on to earn a master's degree. Today, I work with kids who face huge challenges themselves. I can relate to our kids even though many of them don't know I ever had any issues myself!
I enjoy bicycling and yoga.
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