Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship

YouthBuild USA and Penn Foster Name Recipients of 2017 Penn Foster Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship

August 01, 2017

First Recipients Elijah Childs and Kevin Wilson Announced in Conjunction with 12th Annual YouthBuild Instructional Leaders Institute

SCRANTON, PA (August 1, 2017) — Penn Foster, a leading career-focused education provider for today's evolving workforce, and YouthBuild USA, a non-profit organization focused on providing low income young people with the skills and education for career and college readiness, have named Elijah Childs and Kevin Wilson as the first recipients of the Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship, a fund set up in honor of the YouthBuild USA founder. The announcement was made in conjunction with YouthBuild's 12th Annual Instructional Leadership Institute, held this year from July 31-August 2 in Boston.

Named in honor of YouthBuild USA founder and CEO Dorothy Stoneman, who retired from her 39 years at YouthBuild in January 2017, the scholarship gives deserving Penn Foster High School graduates from local YouthBuild programs the opportunity to attend Penn Foster College with tuition fully covered for one semester.

"We congratulate Elijah and Kevin as the first Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship recipients, and we express our appreciation to our longtime supporter Penn Foster as our very trusted education partner," said John Valverde, CEO, YouthBuild USA. "These are two young men who had to overcome substantial odds. They're motivated to realize a better future for themselves that they had never imagined -- one they can earn through education and hard work. We are excited to see what is possible for them now that they will have the opportunity to attend college."

Elijah attended YouthBuild Lake County in North Chicago, IL, and plans to earn an associate's degree in Graphic Design from Penn Foster to complement his interest in music production, audio technology and photography. He wrote in his scholarship essay about his struggles to stay focused on his education from junior high through high school, but how YouthBuild was the answer he was looking for, and set him on the path toward college.

Kevin, who attended YouthBuild CareerSource Pinellas in St. Petersburg, FL, discovered YouthBuild after dropping out of high school to support his baby daughter. After working a number of low-paying jobs, he turned to YouthBuild to earn his high school diploma. He applied for the Penn Foster Dorothy Stoneman Scholarship not only to provide for his young family, but also because he would be the first sibling in his family to earn a college degree. Kevin plans to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice from Penn Foster College.

"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," Kevin said. "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."

"We are extremely proud of both Elijah and Kevin for what they have accomplished in order to receive this scholarship and enroll in Penn Foster College," said Frank Britt, CEO, Penn Foster. "As part of our long-term commitment to working with Opportunity Youth, we're honored to help these students further their education and develop the knowledge and skills needed for long-term career success."

At YouthBuild programs in the United States and across the globe, unemployed and out-of-school young people work toward their High School Equivalency (HSE) or high school diploma, while learning career skills by building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods and engaging in community service and leadership training. Graduates leave prepared for success in post-secondary education, careers, and registered apprenticeships — and as a part of a strong and supportive global community.

At YouthBuild programs in the United States and across the globe, unemployed and out-of-school young people work toward their high school diploma or its equivalent, while learning career skills by building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods and engaging in community service. With caring adult staff and love, YouthBuild's comprehensive model rebuilds the confidence and skills of its graduates with a strong return on investment.

About YouthBuild USA, Inc.
YouthBuild USA, Inc., based in Somerville, MA, is the nonprofit support center for over 250 local YouthBuild programs operating in 45 states and the District of Columbia. In YouthBuild programs, unemployed, low-income, and out-of-school young people ages 16 to 24 work toward their high school diploma or equivalency, while learning job skills by building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods, engaging in community service and leadership training. YouthBuild is proven effective by the most rigorous program evaluation research, with YouthBuild students being significantly more likely to attain a high school credential, enroll in vocational school or college, volunteer, and earn more money, and less likely to receive government benefits, compared to highly motivated youth receiving other services. For more information, visit

About Penn Foster
Students, employers and partner organizations rely on Penn Foster to build the skills and knowledge to power the 21st century workforce. For over 125 years, Penn Foster has been dedicated to helping people lead more meaningful and productive lives and to improving social outcomes through education. Penn Foster provides career pathways for opportunity youth and adult learners through diverse and affordable online diploma, certificate and degree programs, offered via its high school, career school and college. With more than 30,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster's online and blended learning programs are delivered in a self-paced, competency-based model wrapped by comprehensive academic, professional and personal support and coaching. For more information, visit


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