At YouthBuild’s 12th Annual Instructor Leadership Institute earlier this month, we announced YouthBuild graduates Kevin Wilson and Elijah Childs as the first recipients of the Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship. The scholarship fund, named in honor of YouthBuild Founder and long-time CEO, Dorothy Stoneman, who retired in January 2017, was created to help deserving YouthBuild and Penn Foster High School graduates continue their education in an associate or bachelor’s degree program at Penn Foster College.
The story of Dorothy Stoneman is a remarkable one. She has dedicated much of her life to helping low-income young people rebuild their communities and develop the skills needed to create a better future for themselves. The framework for YouthBuild was first constructed in 1978, when Dorothy asked a group of teenagers from East Harlem, New York, “How would you improve your community if you had adult support?” Their answer: “We’d rebuild the houses. We’d take empty buildings back from the drug dealers and eliminate crime.”1
In the forty years since, Dorothy has spread YouthBuild’s mission of unleashing the intelligence and positive energy of young people across the United States and around the world. Today, in the United States, there are 260 YouthBuild programs in 46 states. YouthBuild operates another 100 organizations internationally in countries such as Haiti, Iraq and South Africa. Combined, YouthBuild programs engage 16,000 young people each year.1
The Penn Foster Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship is intended to build on Dorothy’s mission by providing YouthBuild students with college and career pathway opportunities, as well as the knowledge, skill and confidence needed to lead more productive lives.
"I feel doubly blessed: first to find YouthBuild as a path toward a career and away from a series of dead-end jobs, and second, to have been encouraged to apply for the Penn Foster Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship," said scholarship recipient Kevin Wilson, who discovered YouthBuild after dropping out of high school to support his baby daughter. "Finishing high school showed me that I can do anything I put my mind to. College may be tough, but there are people close to me who believe I can do it — and I feel confident about my future."
On behalf the entire Penn Foster team, we are enormously proud of Kevin and Elijah and thrilled that we can assist these driven and talented students pursue their dreams. They are only at the outset of the next leg of their educational journey, but we’re confident that if they continue to approach the trials and tribulations of life with the dogged persistence they have thus far, they will succeed at whatever they choose to commit themselves to. Entering the workforce armed with a postsecondary degree is a powerful force that vastly increases ones marketability and employability. Just as powerful, and another pleasure of becoming an educated person, is the enormous interest it adds to life. We are humbled we can provide them with this scholarship and a postsecondary education that may have not otherwise had the wherewithal to realize.
Penn Foster partners with more than 30 YouthBuild locations across the country, as well as 95+ Job Corps centers, to provide thousands of young people each year with the career-focused online diplomas, degrees, and certificates needed to prepare them for career and college success. To learn more about our partnerships with youth organizations, click here.
Resources: (1) YouthBuild: Our Story
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