January 2019 Donor Spotlight
Thomas and Charleen Walsh and Family established the Carey Marie Walsh Scholarship in memory of their daughter and sister, Carey Marie Walsh.
Carey Marie Walsh was a student at Brehm Preparatory School from 1989 to 1993. Carey came to Brehm as a shy, reserved girl. During her time at Brehm, Carey participated in the yearbook and enjoyed traveling to Europe and Africa. Carey worked hard at Brehm and gained many of the skills needed to live independently and develop relationships. She graduated valedictorian in 1993, and then went on to SIU where she received a BA in Psychology in 1998. Carey moved to Glen Ellyn, IL and attended the College of DuPage, where she received a Library Technical Assistant certificate in 2001.
Throughout these successes, Carey continued to struggle with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She returned to Carbondale and enrolled in Brehm’s OPTIONS Program in 2002. With the support of OPTIONS, Carey found meaningful employment at the public library and businesses in Carbondale. Carey was an active member of the community; regularly attending sports events, plays, and concerts. Carey truly enjoyed her independence, her friendships, and her work. In 2010, Carey underwent a bone marrow transplant for a blood disease, from which she did not recover.
The Walsh Family stated, “It is in loving memory of Carey that we, her family, dedicate this scholarship to her. Carey’s life was full of challenges. Every day she battled to do simple things that many of us take for granted; like locking the door and walking away, or throwing away a piece of paper. However, Carey led a life of fulfillment, she was proud of her accomplishments, and she never stopped striving for better.”
In 2012, the Walsh Family established the Carey Marie Walsh Scholarship. The scholarship committee awards the scholarship to a student(s) that embodies the characteristics of Carey – including motivation, tenacity, striving for independence and excellence, caring for fellow students, respect for the environment, and creativity.
The scholarship is for $15,000 towards the cost of tuition at Brehm Preparatory School. The scholarship can be awarded to one or two students that are enrolled at Brehm. In the past seven years, ten students have received the scholarship.
“Brehm has helped me think of strategies in advance so I can do better in the moment. It used to take me a lot longer to calm down…Even though I try, sometimes I have failed at this. I am not giving up…Everyone at Brehm is helping me learn to deal with those situations better. I feel I have had emotional growth here.” – Molly B.
The students and staff are grateful to the generosity of the Walsh Family. The Carey Marie Walsh Scholarship has become a highly anticipated award among our students and their families. Every year, we have several qualified students that apply for this scholarship. Without the Walsh Family’s continued dedication to supporting students with learning disabilities, we would not be able to offer this award of achievement.