Monday, September 15, 2008

Brady's letter from National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine

Last week Brady received a letter in the mail from the "National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine". It was an invitation to participate in this program. This is what the letter said:

In Honor of Your
Academic Achievement, Leadership Ability and
Dedication to the profession of Medicine,
The National Youth Leadership Forum
Cordially Invites You to
Participate in the
National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine.
Dear Brady:
You have been selected to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF/MED) to be held next summer 2009.

You were chosen to attend the Forum on Medicine based on your exemplary academic record, leadership potential and your interest in the field of medicine.

As you may know, several students from (a school in our area) have previously attended the NYLF program. You may recognize one or more of these outstanding students, who are part of our distinguished alumni association, on the list enclosed.

By attending the Forum on Medicine, you will gain valuable insight into the challenges and rewards of a medical career.

As one of the very select group of high school scholars, you will be welcomed at some of our nation's most prominent and technologically-advanced medical institutions and schools.

During 10 days of firsthand experiences, you will examine state-of-the -art diagnostic tools and future medical specialties in detail.

You will meet and interact with some of our nation's most distinguished medical leaders and research pioneers - visionaries and practitioners in the field of medicine whose dedication and ability have brought them to the top of their profession.

Perhaps most importantly, as a Forum on Medicine scholar, you will discover valuable new perspectives regarding a career in the medical field, and you will be able to apply those perspectives toward any career you may be considering and the success you dream of achieving.

At the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, you will meet and interact with high-achieving students like you from all across the U.S. and develop friendships that will last long after the completion of the Forum. Upon your return home, you will be inspired and motivated to take the next step in your career journey.

Enclosed is detailed information about your participation in the Forum of Medicine.

Review the enclosed material thoroughly, and carefully consider which of the eight U.S. cities you would prefer and which of the session dates listed are most convenient for you to attend the Forum on Medicine next summer 2009.

Again, my sincere congratulations! We look forward to meeting you next summer.

Sincerely,
Tonia Jacobson
Director of Admissions

PS. The National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine is dedicated to helping you prepare for the opportunities and responsibilities which lie ahead - in the medical field or in any career you choose.
Next summer, due to your selection and special status as an accomplished student, you will join the most outstanding high school students from across the United States - who share your extraordinary time of discovery and mentorship.

*************************************************************************
Wow!! What a letter and honor to be selected to attend this forum. The hold up that I had was that the tuition of $2,515.00 is due within a month. Yikes!! That set off red flags and I started investigating this nomination.

Brady was thrilled and excited to attend this opportunity. He read the letter to his brother, dad and told friends in his on-line game "runescape". I was excited too, but never knew that he had an interest in medicine. I was quite shocked. His response was that he would like to be in the research part of medicine because he loves science. However, he didn't really believe he could reach for a career in medicine, because we are poor and wouldn't be able to pay for the college. It made me very sad that he didn't want to go forward in achieving all of his dreams, because I am a single, middle class woman. I told him he could be whatever he wanted, and we would figure out the money part of his education and dreams. I told him I would figure out how to get this money if it was really legitimate and a great opportunity. I would do anything to help him succeed in life - just like any parent.

I started on my way to research this program before I sent them $2500. I called the schools in our area and one of my friends asked a mother who had a daughter attend something at the Mayo clinic last year.

This is what her friend said:
You are two days behind me in checking this out. My son, was asked to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum that focuses on National Security (CIA, Anapolis, Pentagon, etc...). At first glance, I was excited and honored that he was asked. Then I gave consideration to a few other details. I started with their website for a general overview and then I started asking around.

The session he is invited to attend falls in the middle of February. He will miss 5 days of classes and he is in Accel. Math Analysis, 3 AP courses and engineering. I was concerned about his ability to get caught up after being out a solid week at that time of the school year.

Then I noticed that another student we know was listed as having attended during the summer of 2008! I contacted that student's father to find out what they thought of the experience. His son was nominated...but never went! In fact, they have no intention of sending him even... although it clearly states that he did attend.

I then spoke with the head of counseling for this district to find out more.

She said that she was in Washington, DC when the National Youth Leadership sessions were underway a couple years ago. She said that they stood out because they are a massive group of teenagers all wearing the same T-Shirts as they walk around on their tours. I asked what the value of attending might be. She said that it is bound to be fun and interesting...but if people are considering whether there is 'value added' from attending, her advice is to focus more on maintaining strong grades in demanding courses than worrying about having this forum on a resume. College recruiters don't put a lot of weight on participation with these things. She also said that this is a business and that people are running this service to make a profit. These families all pay a lot of money. If the family is comfortable in paying that amount for an experience of that sort, then that is what they should do...as long as it would not compromise the child's academic performance and standing. It is a legitimate event...but it is also one that is intended to run on a profit. Also, notice that they do not tell you how many students are invited to each session. She said that the groups were very large.

From our family's perspective, we were skeptical once we learned that Nick had not attended, but they were using his name as if he had...

My son would like to go. Three of his friends have received similar invitations..two for the fall and one other for the spring. Of those, it sounds as though all plan to attend. It just doesn't sit pretty with me though. Something doesn't feel right.

For what it is worth... this is what I have discovered so far.
Then I received a call back from a councilor at his middle school whom I had contacted. She also did some research on this company and opportunity. She said that after checking around, they found that this isn't a very reputable place and they would not recommend us responding to it or going.
We found it is legitimate, but that it isn't worth the money. Brady is a 4.0 kid in Honors Math and Honors Science. He was also a member of the national junior honors society during 8th grade. We also heard because he is such a smart student, there will be lots of these types of offers through out his high school years. He will be able to do anything he wants in life. This letter gave us a great opportunity to discuss college and future goals. I know he will succeed in life and will not miss out any any 'real' opportunities in life.

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