Seventeen-year-old David Buckholtz is an exemplary student and a fine young man who is rising above his "at-risk" label with the help of the Urban Affairs Coalition.
David came to UAC through our Summer WorkReady Programs at the age of 14. Starting as an intern and paired with a mentor, he began participating in the Partnership for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS). Excelling in his chosen field of robotics at the Franklin Institute, David was the youngest supervisor to be hired to-date, and is the founder of the Robotics Mentoring Program, serving younger youth.
Make no mistake, David’s journey to success was not easy. He, like so many children, grew up in an emerging neighborhood, in a home with its own share of challenges and adversity. David’s will and determination continue to be fueled with the love and support of a strong, caring and involved mother, Myracherisse Best, and the help of UAC’s Youth Division. Recently he was recognized, along with the Coalition, by Sun Life Financial with the Sun Life Rising Star Award. The award program honors high school students who have overcome the odds and remained committed to furthering their education, as well as the nonprofit organization that advocates on their behalf. The Coalition received a $50,000 program grant award; and David was awarded a $5,000 scholarship. David is now a freshman at Penn State, studying aerospace engineering.
The Coalition used the funds to launch The Driver's Seat, a project of UAC's Youth Division that served 25 economically disadvantaged students. The program provided paid summer internships, entrepreneurship education and training, and other workforce development resources to youth interested in starting their own businesses. The Coalition held its 1st Annual Driver's Seat Youth Entrepreneurship Expo in August of 2011 in which students exhibited their business plans and products and competed for business development scholarships to further their entrepreneurial goals!
Since my freshman year of high school, the Urban Affairs Coalition has been a second home for me – helping me form a resume, preparing me for job interviews, etc. The Coalition not only taught me how to hold a professional stature, but it helped me to see the true value of giving back to my community. These values are forever embedded in my everyday living and will be used in these next four years -- but more importantly, once I return to Philadelphia, to give back to my community.
I wanted to thank you all for your help, tough love, and dedication to my education and career.
David A. Buckholtz