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March 15, 2023

YouthBuild Graduates Earn National Stoneman Scholarships

Top row, from left to right: Arthur Felizardo Lopes da Silva, Cory Winters, Faron Brinkley,
Jude Steffers-Wilson, Veronica Cruz Garcia. Bottom row, from left to right: Michael Springer, Sevell Graham, Siphesihle Soliwe, and Kitana Kearney.

YouthBuild USA has announced that ten of its graduates from local programs around the world have been named recipients of the 2022 Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program.

The scholarship is given in support of YouthBuild alumni leaders’ postsecondary education and training, providing awards of $2,000 to outstanding YouthBuild graduates who have been recognized for excellence in civic engagement, community leadership and academic achievement, with special emphasis on the students’ academic promise.

The recipients of the 2022 Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program are:

Faron Brinkley, a 2011 graduate of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                                                                                                                  Morris Brown College, Bachelor’s, Psychology

Veronica Cruz Garcia, a 2012 graduate of Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) Jóvenes Constructores YouthBuild program in El Salvador                                                        Technological University of El Salvador, Bachelor’s, Psychology

Arthur Felizardo Lopes da Silva, a 2015 graduate of Centro de Promoção da Saúde’s Jovens Construtores YouthBuild program in Brazil
Young Builders Program, Certificate, Construction

Ari F., a 2022 graduate of YouthBuild DC Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Per Scholas IT Support, Certificate, Information Technology

Sevell Graham, a 2012 graduate of YouthBuild Schenectady in Schenectady, New York
Kennesaw State University, Bachelor’s, Psychology

Kitana Kearney, a 2022 graduate of UCC YouthBuild in Newark, New Jersey
Essex County College, Bachelor’s, Computer Science

Siphesihle Soliwe, a 2021 graduate of YouthBuild South Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa  Thekwini TVET College, Tourism

Michael Springer, a 2008 graduate of Michigan Works! YouthBuild (now Benton Harbor YouthBuild) in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Simmons College of Kentucky, Associate’s, Sociology

Jude Steffers-Wilson, a 2017 graduate of Youth Action YouthBuild in East Harlem, New York
Hunter College, Bachelor’s, Philosophy

Cory Winters, a 2011 graduate of Community Action Beloit’s YouthBuild program (Beloit Fresh Start) in Beloit, Wisconsin                                                                                                                    University of Wisconsin Whitewater, Associate’s, Liberal Studies

The recipients of the 2022 Stoneman Scholarships are pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees or trade certificates in a variety of fields. Some have recently graduated from their YouthBuild program, while others have been alumni for years and still are engaged with the YouthBuild movement. Winners were chosen from a pool of applicants who submitted a personal essay, a personal recommendation and college transcripts.

“We are honored to celebrate our Stoneman Scholars as they continue their educational journeys beyond YouthBuild,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “These leaders are forging paths of advancement not just for their own personal growth, but also that of their families and communities. We are so proud of them, their achievements and all the successes to come.”

Since 2005, the Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program has awarded 334 gifts to 173 YouthBuild graduates attending post-secondary education or training, providing $660,000 to assist YouthBuild graduates with their postsecondary education.

YouthBuild founder Dorothy Stoneman, with her sister Elinor Stoneman Shaffer, established the scholarship in honor of their mother, Helene D. Stoneman. Helene was a child of German immigrants who devoted her energies to the League of Women Voters. She was president both of the Belmont League of Women Voters and the Massachusetts League, and a longtime member of the board of the National League. She was an untiring worker for education, civic engagement, and voters’ rights. This scholarship recognizes YouthBuild graduates who share Helene’s passion for leadership and education.

In YouthBuild programs, opportunity youth — young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor employed — pursue their education, prepare for future careers and grow into community leaders, building brighter futures for themselves and their neighborhoods. With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership. Responding to the urgent need for knowledge, training and opportunity, YouthBuild primarily serves young people who lack a high school diploma and financial resources. The post-program educational tracks of Stoneman Scholars include trade schools, certificate programs, community colleges, four-year colleges and more.

YouthBuild USA is the nonprofit support center for a global network of more than 275 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 220 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 56 programs in 17 other countries.

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