Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The “Phantom” who “believes I can achieve.”

“…and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams.”  Acts 2:17 Living Bible

By Stephanie A. Walker Stradford and 
Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

AMWS June 1, 2018, Atlanta – Youth Achievers USA Institute, a national 501c3 public charity, is responding to requests of youth applicants and their parents with a corporate commitment to award up to $5,000.00 in new scholarships during 2018.

This week, beneficiaries are once again reaching out to cash in on a community promise, granting winners “all rights and responsibilities.”  One beneficiary stated, “I want to remind you of the scholarship you owe me.”  

Another, shared a congratulatory text, reflecting a favorable assessment from a school counselor. Too often, however, youth beneficiaries, parents, mentors, asset managers and members of supporting Whole Villages forget or ignore the requirements and their responsibilities to qualify for benefits.

A non-believer argues that benefits are a myth. They tend to label “winners” as “phantoms.”  One scholar inappropriately attached the term to some YouthUSA beneficiaries.  In doing so, he may have reneged on a shared vision by a “Whole Village” of caring adults and challenged a two-thousand year old concept called faith.

That scholar never fully embrace the faith-based concept of winning.  Those like him may never comprehend the “illusion without material substance” overcoming a 400-year dream deferred.  So as not to be confused about the truth, a phantom is defined as an apparition or specter, an appearance or illusion without material substance.  A phantom might be viewed as a dream, image, or a mirage.

Neither social media comments, telephone calls or conversations at the Walmart qualify a beneficiary for The Evelyn Walker Armstrong Scholarship.  This resource of YouthUSA, however, does encourage pursuit of higher education.   

Scholarship applicants must have a completed application to The Annual Youth Achievement Awards; be engaged with their Whole Village in service; participate online with their Community Asset Manager (CAM) in YouthUSA Live Meetings; complete FDIC Financial Literacy classes; secure good grades, and submit a Benefits Request Form.   

The process for winning with YouthUSA promotes 21st century measures for transparency.  The process models economic inclusion by engaging economically disadvantaged youth as economic beneficiaries.

There is no guarantee that all disadvantaged youth, ages 7-24, will APPLY. But, every completed application wins a chance to win.  That chance separates winners from quitters.  As one wise mentor advised, “A winner never quits, because a quitter never wins.”   Every completed application to THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS qualifies a beneficiary to confidently and unapologetically declare, “I’m a winner.”

There is no promise that a Whole Village of 20 caring adults will do whatever needs to be done to ensure a beneficiary achieves “whatever I believe I can achieve.”   But, since 1996, every application to YouthUSA has challenged a Whole Village to invest in a 7-part vision (goals) of a youth’s whole future.  A $100 economic challenge represents a measurable $5 investment by 20 caring adults. 

To qualify for an Evelyn Walker Armstrong Scholarship, a YouthUSA beneficiary must: 

(1)  show evidence that initial application requirements were met,
(2)  present testimony by community members of relevant service,
(3)  submit a completed YouthUSA Benefits Request.

The process is available via Internet at  It invites any YouthUSA beneficiary, past, current or future board member, caring adult investor, accountable grantee, or prospective partner to sign up for technical assistance being offered through Youth Achievers USA institute.