Local YouthBuild Graduates Earn National Scholarship In East Harlem

May 17, 2021

YouthBuild USA has announced that Amanda Guzman, Chasity Williams, and Jude Steffers-Wilson, 2004, 2015, and 2017 graduates, respectively, of Youth Action YouthBuild in East Harlem.

As well as Lena McKnight, a 2011 graduate of the former Abyssinian Development Corp. (ADC) YouthBuild program in Harlem, have been named recipients of the 2020 Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program.

The scholarship is in support of YouthBuild alumni leaders’ post-secondary education and training, providing awards of $1,000 to outstanding YouthBuild graduates across the U.S. who have been recognized for excellence in civic engagement, community leadership, and academic achievement, with special emphasis on the students’ academic promise.

Guzman is currently enrolled at Stony Brook University to obtain her master’s degree in human resource management.

Williams is currently enrolled at Monroe College to obtain her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Steffers-Wilson is enrolled at the Borough of Manhattan Community College to obtain his associate’s degree in philosophy.

McKnight is currently enrolled in the New York Film Academy to obtain her certificate in film. The recipients of the 2020 Stoneman Scholarships are pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees 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.

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“Our Stoneman Scholars have dedicated themselves to lifelong learning, livelihood and leadership,” said John Valverde, president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. “We’re proud to celebrate this group of deserving honorees and support their pursuit of higher education. We need their passion – and grit – in the years to come.”

Since 2005, the Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program has awarded 314 gifts to 155 YouthBuild graduates attending post-secondary education or training, providing $620,000 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 290 local YouthBuild programs in 18 countries, with 233 programs in 46 U.S. states and territories and 57 programs in 17 other countries.

With love and respect, YouthBuild partners with opportunity youth to build the skillsets and mindsets that lead to lifelong learning, livelihood, and leadership.

At nearly 300 YouthBuild programs across the United States and around the world, students reclaim their education, gain job skills, and become leaders in their communities. To date, YouthBuild has partnered with more than 180,000 young people to dedicate over 50 million hours of service benefitting urban, rural, and tribal communities.

YouthBuild strives to create a world where all young people are seen for their potential, and power to transform themselves and their communities.

YouthBuild USA – the support center for the YouthBuild movement – strengthens YouthBuild programs through technical assistance, leadership development, innovative program enhancements, and advocacy.

YouthBuild programs located outside of the United States are supported by YouthBuild USA’s international division, YouthBuild International.

For more information about the YouthBuild movement, YouthBuild USA, and YouthBuild International, visit YouthBuild.org.

Photo credit: YouthBuild.

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