The United States Senate Youth Alumni Association was formed in tribute to its "mom," the beloved Mrs. George R. Hearst, Sr.
For almost 30 years, until she passed away in 1999, Mrs. Hearst adopted as a surrogate mother 3,848 high school seniors who were delegates to the United States Senate Youth Program, sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The delegates traveled to Washington, D.C. each year, studied the American government up close for a week, and received scholarships from the foundation. Every year for the Week in Washington, Mrs. Hearst became the delegates' mom. She greeted them the moment they arrived at the Mayflower Hotel, and she personally placed the immediate telephone call to their parents to report that the students had arrived safely. She then attended the program with them, ate with them, spoke with them, and even partied with them. She learned their names. She came to know them, as well as their hopes, dreams, and ideas.
Like mothers everywhere, Mrs. Hearst did not lose touch with her brood when it left Washington. She made sure that every student knew how to reach her. Every single year she wrote to every former delegate she could keep track of. She and her devoted assistant Gladys Hundley (working for years with index cards, not computers) kept up with all of changes, moves, degrees, promotions, and even disappointments in the young lives of the former delegates. From time to time, she supported former delegates financially when there was a particularly acute educational need. Year after year, she remained a mother to them all.
As Mrs. Hearst's health began to fail, she asked several former delegates, some of whom were no longer young themselves, to think about continuing her work with former delegates. The United States Senate Youth Alumni Association ("USSYAA") grew from this request. Fortunately, the Association began to organize before Mrs. Hearst's passing, so that she could see that her wish for the future would be accomplished.
In 1999—Mrs. Hearst's last year at the Week in Washington—the association paid tribute to her on her birthday at its inaugural alumni dinner. In the year that followed, the association adopted its mission statement and completed its bylaws (PDF).
For further information about the Association, please .
View videos about Mrs. Hearst's role in the formation of the USSYAA.
USSYAA · P.O. Box 1798 · Washington, DC 20013-1798 ·
Neither the USSYAA nor its scholarship is associated with the William Randolph Hearst Foundations and their United States Senate Youth Program.