Killer to CEO: YouthBuild’s CEO John Valverade is a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

YouthBuild is a non-profit organization which provides counseling and job skills to young, unemployed American adults

John Valverade. YouTube

December 26, 2016: John Valverade has become the personification of a phoenix rising from the ashes. After spending 16 years in prison, Valverade is now appointed as the chief executive officer of YouthBuild USA Inc.

YouthBuild is a non-profit organization which provides counseling and job skills to young, unemployed American adults, usually between ages 16 and 24.There are 273 programs running in the US. There are programs underway in about 15 countries. The organization supports nearly 10,000 high school dropouts every year.

The organization wanted a CEO who had the vision and leadership capabilities that would set the organization on the path of growth and impact.

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The Board of Directors of YouthBuild wanted a successor to Dorothy Stoneman, Founder and CEO of YouthBuild, the man who built the organization from the ground, as a single experimental program. After a national search, Valverade was selected as the new CEO of YouthBuild.

John Valverade has spent 16 years in prison. In 1991, when Valverade was 20 years old, he decided to confront the man, Joel Schoenfeld, who had raped his girlfriend. He shot him in the head, at point-blank range. Schoenfeld was on trial for sex offences at the time.

Valverade was convicted of murder and was released on parole after 16 years. While he was in prison, Valverade earned two college degrees, taught his inmates how to read and write and worked as an HIV/AIDS counselor.

Valverade has received a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Mercy College and a master’s degree in Urban Ministry from the New York Theological Seminary. When he got out of prison in 2008, he started working as a paralegal for Osborne Association, a non-profit organization that provides treatment, education and vocational services to current and former inmates.

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In an interview with Associated Press, Valverade said, “From the first moment, I knew that what I did was wrong, but it was a long journey for me to accept full responsibility without rationalization, justification or excuse or blame.”

Valverde said that although he believes “it’s never possible to make amends for taking a life,” he decided to try to transform his own life.

Next week, Valverade will take over the position of Chief Executive Officer.

Valverade believes that it is important that he is honest with the young people he is trying to help. He wants them to know about his story: how he went from being a promising young college student to a convicted killer.

“They are just like me, and therefore their path could be like mine, and therefore they could achieve things that they never imagined,” Valverde said in the interview at YouthBuild’s Somerville, headquarters.

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Brianna Bell, who is currently enrolled in the YouthBuild program, said that she was shocked to hear the story of Valverade. But when she met him, she thought if he could turn his whole life around, then why can’t she?

Another student Karim said that Valverade showed us that no matter what you did before, you can always build a future.
According to Valverade, describing these young people as “at-risk youths” is a negative stereotype. He believes that “Opportunity youth” is a more accurate term.

According to Valverade, describing these young people as “at-risk youths” is a negative stereotype. He believes that “Opportunity youth” is a more accurate term.

prepared by NewsGram team