Dayvon Bladen – 2016 Harry Lewis Jr. Scholarship Recipient

dayvon360“When I first found out I was going to receive this scholarship, I dropped to my knees and almost cried because it was such a blessing. It has totally changed my attitude towards college. Instead of viewing it as a stressful financial obligation, I now view it as a way to flourish.”

Dayvon Bladen, an already talented pastry chef, is this Class of 2016 recipient of the Harry Lewis Jr. Scholarship Award. Dayvon graduated last spring at both the Coatesville Area High School and the Technical College High School’s Brandywine Campus — and is now majoring in baking and pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University’s highly regarded College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island.

Named for the former Brandywine Health Foundation board chair and former teacher, coach and principal of the Coatesville Area High School, the four-year scholarship is worth a total of $20,000. It is awarded each year to one outstanding participant in the Coatesville Youth Initiative (CYI).   One key criteria: a demonstrated commitment to improving the quality of life in the greater Coatesville community.

Beginning with the summer before he entered 9th grade, this Coatesville teen spent four summers working as part of CYI’s ServiceCorps in paid service jobs that ranged from being a day-camp counselor to working at the Brandywine Health Foundation. During his internship in the summer of 2015 at the foundation, Dayvon was instrumental in designing the new Coatesville Area Youth Philanthropy Program. He also was an active participant in the CYI Game Changers Youth Council.

Dayton Bladen mastering Petit Fours at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI.

Dayton Bladen mastering Petit Fours at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI.

Dayvon is one of six children and before his mother urged him to apply to CYI, he says, “I was so reclusive I was a hermit in my room. I didn’t want to have anything to do with anybody. I also would have never thought that I would be going to college. I could not see anything positive in my future, and I could not fathom becoming the confident leader I am now.  CYI has taught me many things, from how to properly establish my finances to being able to have lengthy, comfortable conversations with my peers, elders and key members of my community. I’ve grown and flourished tremendously.”  Adds Dayvon, whose father was fatally shot when he was a year old, “I was able to talk to the CYI staff as if they were my mentors and family.”

Dayvon is now a freshman flourishing at Johnson and Wales University. You can follow him on his fantastic blog “Adventures of a Pastry Chef” but beware, it will make you hungry!