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February 23, 2022

YouthBuild Graduates Earn National Stoneman Scholarships

2021 Stoneman Scholars
Top left to bottom right: Alexandra Blockton, Bryan Ross, Carmen Cotton, Chasity Williams, Ely Flores, Jude Steffers-Wilson, Lena McKnight, Nevi Adriani, Sevell Graham, Summer Williams

Ten scholars are awarded $2,000 scholarships to assist with postsecondary education

YouthBuild USA has announced that ten of its graduates from across the U.S. have been named recipients of the 2021 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 2021 Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program are:

Alexandra Blockton, a 2020 graduate of Lewis and Clark Community College’s Building Futures YouthBuild in Godfrey, Illinois
Lewis and Clark Community College, Associate’s, Education

Bryan Ross, a 2000 graduate of the former Y.E.S. YouthBuild in Los Angeles, California
Cerritos College, Associate’s, Kinesiology

Carmen Cotton, a 2013 graduate of Venice YouthBuild in Venice, California
Paul Mitchell Beauty Academy, Certificate, Esthetician

Chasity Williams, a 2015 graduate of Youth Action YouthBuild in East Harlem, New York
Monroe College, Bachelor’s, Business Administration

Ely Flores, a 2005 graduate of LA CAUSA YouthBuild, Montebello, California
University of South Florida, Certificate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

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

Lena McKnight, a 2011 graduate of Abyssinian Development Corporation’s YouthBuild program in Harlem, New York
New York Film Academy, Certificate, Film

Nevi Adriani, a 2021 graduate of R.U.T.H. YouthBuild in Canoga Park, California
Los Angeles Pierce College, Community College, Associate’s, Business

Sevell Graham, a 2013 graduate of YouthBuild Schenectady in Schenectady, New York
Kennesaw State University, Bachelor’s, Applied Science

Summer Williams, a 2021 graduate of YouthBuild McLean County in Normal, Illinois
Heartland Community College, Associate’s, Nursing

The recipients of the 2021 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.

“With passion and determination, our Stoneman Scholars have committed themselves to the pursuit of higher education and leadership,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “We’re proud to honor their accomplishments and continue our partnership as they work to advance themselves and their communities. Their futures are so very bright.”

Since 2005, the Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program has awarded 324 gifts to 165 YouthBuild graduates attending postsecondary education or training, providing $640,000 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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