Brittany Tedeschi, a 21 year old junior in psychology, is leaving a legacy of community service and activism at the University of Miami.
When Tedeschi was growing up in Cranston, RI, she was a lot like other kids, according to her mother Laurie, a teacher. She loved to hang out with friends, play high-school lacrosse, and read. She had a fascination with all things Disney.
However, she and her younger sister had their eyes opend at a young age to the plight of teachers and kids in the education system as well as the foster care system.
“Brittany and her sister wanted to do something to help, but really did not know how to go about it,” Ms. Tedeschi said.
That changed when Brittany was a junior in high school. That year, her best friend from kindergarten (Katie) suddenly passed away from complications during jaw surgery.
“The death was unexpected and devastating” Brittney said.
It was then that she decided she wanted to keep Katie’s memory alive. She started a memorial fund known as Katie’s Kids to support the mission through Katie’s church to educate poverty stricken kids in Africa. For the rest of her time in high school she dedicated herself to keeping this fund going.
Once Brittany came to Miami, she immediately became involved in the STRIVE program through the Butler Center. She is heavily involved in STRIVE and helps to coordinate programs in the community, according to Haley Gordon, an employee in the Butler Center (SLC).
She also became involved in the Alternative Breaks program. Her first year she volunteered and then as a sophomore, she worked as a sites coordinator. Brittany recalls working with children both years that she was able to travel and found it extremely rewarding to make a difference.
“Brittany has been an integral part to the new process of volunteer placement for the program,” senior and co-chair Sara Bouchereau said.
Currently, Brittany is launching the second year of the Tunnel of Oppression which runs April 27-29 from 4-9 p.m. in the UC ballrooms. The goal of the tunnel project is to educate participants on acts of oppression in every day life through sensory overload and interactive media.
Due to her community service record for the past 5 years, she has recently been awarded the 2009 Robert Bates Cole scholarship
Besides her many service roles and life as a student, Brittany interns in the Butler Center as well. Tedeschi hopes to turn this passion and her psychology degree into a career in social work one day.
“Her passions lie in education and the foster care system,” Boucherea said.