YouthBuild USA has announced that Rodrigo Vazquez, a 2004 graduate of Venice YouthBuild, has been named a recipient of the 2020 Helene D. Stoneman Scholarship and Civic Leadership Program in support of YouthBuild alumni leaders’ post-secondary education and training. The scholarship provides 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.

Vazquez is currently enrolled at UCLA to obtain his master’s degree in social work. 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.

“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.

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

Submitted by Sarina Tracy