Youth Enrichment Services (YES) is proud to report that 100% of YES high school seniors successfully graduated this year and will continue on to college. One of the ways that YES maintains this record of success is by supporting our youth financially through the Richard Williams Memorial Scholarship.
Every year, a committee comprised of YES board members, volunteers, and alumni select YES high school seniors to receive the Richard Williams Memorial Scholarship. Scholarship recipients are chosen based off of their application, leadership skills, academic promise, financial need, community service, and commitment to YES’s mission. We are proud to announce the 2019 Richard Williams Memorial Scholarship recipients below.
Roxbury teen Ammal was first introduced to YES in the summer of 2014 in the YES Outdoor Adventure Program. Since then, she has participated in several YES programs, including Operation SnowSports and Leadership corps. Through all of these programs, Ammal gained experience in rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and more, which helped her build her confidence while teaching her valuable lessons in trust, communication, adaptability, and taking risks. Throughout her time in high school, Ammal was part of the Student Conservation Association Leadership Corps and Boston Student Advisory Council in addition to being a YES Leadership Corps teen. She is attending University of Massachusetts Lowell pursing a degree in sociology with a concentration in nonprofit management. Ammal hopes to one day create a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching Boston youth about government, politics, and civic engagement.
Allston teen Rafaela has been a Leadership Corps teen at YES since 2016. She has had the opportunity to participate in both the summer and school-year LC programs. In addition to her involvement with YES, she has worked in childcare, as a swim instructor, been a part of her school choir, and been associated with groups and associations at her high school and Northeastern University advocating for equality, political awareness, and oceanic sciences. Rafaela is known by her teachers for being a diligent worker, punctual, committed to her studies and innovative when confronting challenges. Rafaela is attending Boston University where she plans to study international relations and environmental science. She hopes to work abroad as an ambassador in Germany or Peru or as part of an American corporation or organization in the same geographical areas.
Roslindale teen Sontaya began at YES, along with her sister, when she was seven years old. Although she was shy and timid at first, YES’ Operation SnowSports helped build her confidence, make new friends and become confident in her own abilities by learning how to ski. As she got older, Sontaya continued to stay involved in Operation SnowSports by teaching younger youth how to ski and help them grow their confidence. She loved helping youth learn, despite how overwhelmed and defeated they felt. With patience, kindness and humor Sontaya urged the youth to keep trying until they were confidently skiing. Looking back on her time at YES, she recognizes the value of how skiing can offer lessons in taking risks, using different strategies, planning and anticipating challenges. Sontaya is attending Union College in Schenectady, New York where she hopes to study sociology or public health. She is also the recipient of the Posse Foundation scholarship through her nomination from YES.
South End teen Elizabeth got involved in YES’s Leadership Corps program in 2016. In addition to volunteering as an LC at YES, she held several other volunteer roles, including being a math tutor at the Boston Latin School, a community service participant fundraising and promoting community groups in the South End of Boston, a gardening assistant at Freight Farm, and a Guidance Assistant and Peer Mentor at her high school. Elizabeth has a passion and dedication to volunteering and service that she describes as one of her most important character traits. Not only is she serious about volunteering, but she also excelled at school by being an Advanced Placement Scholar, member of National Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society, and receiving five rowing accolades. Elizabeth is attending the University of Saint Andrews with an intended major of biology.