This summer, thanks to The Internicola Law Firm, a 16-year-old girl from the Bronx won a $500 scholarship. And thanks to the SUCCESS Foundation, she also took home powerful lessons about direction and accountability in her life.
Mbalu Fofana won the firm’s inaugural Franchisee University Young Entrepreneur Scholarship in a competition that required high school students in the New York metro area to write essays about entrepreneurship and their futures. The contest had no GPA requirements but stated that each student must plan on attending college upon graduation or plan on establishing his or her own business.
The firm sent free copies of SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk About Using the Slight Edge to interested candidates so they could incorporate thoughts on the book into their essays if they wished. The book is the core of the SUCCESS for Teens personal development curriculum. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs; SUCCESSFoundation.org offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.)
Charles Internicola, a national business and franchise lawyer and managing partner of the law firm based in Staten Island, N.Y., says his team created the scholarship to build awareness about entrepreneurship in the community.
“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our nation,” Internicola says. “They take risks, overcome obstacles and create valuable businesses that serve and benefit themselves, their employees and their communities. Our nation requires a strong and ever-growing base of future entrepreneurs. So we thought that the scholarship would be our own small step in contributing to the awareness required in our younger generation.”
Internicola decided to include SUCCESS for Teens in the contest because he had previously purchased it for his two sons. “The book is an excellent resource and tool for exposing young men and women to success principles that will not only relate to business achievements but also to a balanced and meaningful life,” he says. “Life is all about accountability, taking action and adopting the right mindset, and SUCCESS for Teens does a great job of communicating these points.”
And what exactly did the book communicate to prizewinner Fofana?
“I am in control of my fate,” she wrote in her essay after reading SUCCESS for Teens. “Though I am young, every action I take can either make or break me, so that all depends on how determined I am.”
In the future, Internicola hopes to expand the scholarship contest beyond New York: “Our goal is to reach students nationwide [to build] a growing base of young men and women who, at the very earliest stages, learn that their lives are a product of their choices and that there are really no limits to what they can achieve.”
To request books, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit SUCCESSFoundation.org. Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing [email protected].