Importance of Education

Tomas Stanton Named Recipient of 2014 “COURAGE IN LEARNING” Award to be presented in Phoenix, Arizona on October 11, 2014 at Gala to Benefit Universal Learning Centre


[PHOENIX, ARIZONA – September 29, 2014] Universal Learning Centre (, a not-for-profit organization that builds and sustains library learning centers in developing nations, announces the selection of Tomas Stanton to receive the 2014 “Courage in Learning” Award at its upcoming Fundraiser Gala to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Tomas Stanton - 2014 Courage in Learning Award Winner

Tomas Stanton – 2014 Courage in Learning Award Winner

Tomas Stanton, a local leader, demonstrates how he has overcome adversity through learning. With many odds against him as a youth he grew up in a gang and drug infested environment. Learning the art to survival and taking advantage of rare opportunities and choices, he now gives back to underserved and marginalized communities.

Tomas dropped out of high school his freshman year and at 18 his mother had no choice to tell him it was time for him to go into the world and become an adult. At this point Tomas bounced around from home to home sleeping on friend’s couches or sometimes on the floor. Tomas realized this wasn’t the life he wanted and the only way he was going to make a change was to pursue an education. At 20 years old he received his GED and began his journey to where he is now. Because of his outstanding work ethic, many adults are inspired by his example. Tomas has been able to bridge gaps between youth and adults in a way that deserves recognition for its rarity.

Mr. Stanton is the Co-founder of Phonetic Spit, a local organization that empowers young people to find their voice, through the medium of Spoken Word poetry, and use it to become driven citizens of the world. Currently Phonetic Spit has residencies in six different schools and reaches over 1,000 youth a year with its programs. He also produces a monthly workshop and poetry ‘Slam’ where they compete to earn a spot of the nation Slam team and a trip to ‘Brave New Voices’ an international youth poetry festival that was featured on HBO. In addition to his work with Phonetic Spit, Tomas is also currently enrolled at ASU working towards his bachelor’s degree in Performance & Movement, with a focus on Hip Hop in education.

“Tomas exemplifies the notion of courage in learning. He provides an example that one can still learn in adverse conditions. Hearing his personal story and achievements should be inspiring to everyone,” stated ULC Board Chairman, Paul Hopkins. “We’re thrilled he will be there in person to accept and we look forward to hearing him speak.”

The second annual Gala will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center, in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, October 11, 2014. A cocktail reception and silent auction featuring Haitian street art will begin at 6:00pm followed by the “Courage in Learning” award presentation, a dinner including a sampling of Haitian food and entertainment. Community members may register for the event at

Having opened its first site in December 2009, a month prior to the earthquake that devastated Haiti, Universal Learning Centre now has three successfully operating centers, all of which are the first of their kind in their communities. The organization is now focused on its fourth location in Haiti’s second largest city, Cap Haitian.

To donate, or to learn more about Universal Learning Centre, visit or call (480) 273-0404.


About Universal Learning Centre:

Universal Learning Centre (ULC) was founded in 2005 by Jacques M. Jean, his wife, Dana, and a small but passionate board of directors. A Haitian native, Mr. Jean stepped into a library for the first time in his life at age 18 and had a transformational experience. From that point on, his personal mission, and later that of the organization, became providing similar educational resources and learning opportunities to people in developing nations. The organization currently has sites in Pilate, Ferrier and Ouanaminthe, Haiti and in support of its strategic plan, the board, staff and volunteers are working on plans for sites in Cap Haitian, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

ULC is a section 501(c)(3) organization. For more information on how you can help, visit

Media Contacts: Jacques Jean,

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