Rashad Cain became a part of New Look at age 14 when he was recommended to apply in 2005 after participating in Allen Rossum’s Health Kids Klub, a sports camp held in Atlanta. Today, Rashad is a graduate of Georgia State with a degree in Film, Music & Business Management. He is employed by the Atlanta Braves and is in the process of applying for grad school.
My Story: I had NO idea from the first moment I saw Usher at camp in 2005 that New Look would evolve into the game changer it is today. New Look isn’t just a program. New Look saves lives, inspires dreams and put you on the track to achieve those dreams. When I joined New Look in 2005, I was growing up in single parent household with my mother, one brother and myself on the Southwest side of Atlanta. We always were fortunate to have somewhere to live. Many things were taken from us throughout my childhood, but my mother was strong and somehow found a way around many of our challenges.
I remember when I was five I said I wanted to be a Chemist and attend Georgia Tech. Now I look back on it I wonder where I got that from, because no one in my immediate family attended college. College was always something I aspired to get to but I never knew if it was something that was possible.
I first heard about New Look from participating in Allen Rossum’s Healthy Kids Klub camp. I met Shawn Wilson there and he encouraged me to sign up for a basketball camp. As I started to apply for it, I later found out it was Usher’s New Look and I would be exploring my spark of sports if I was accepted in— which I was! I was excited and felt very appreciative. At that time, I had never experienced anything like it.
My New Look: Before New Look, I lacked a bonafide work ethic. I quickly realized the fish that survive are the ones that swim faster and I needed to become a more efficient individual and do better for myself before this world ate me up, so to speak. Being a member of New Look helped me realize that people see more in me than I do in myself. I didn’t have much confidence, but that quickly changed as I was accepted and appreciated for being myself around people. Often times it was said that I was a unique person with strong leadership qualities. This really opened my eyes to my potential. As a participant, I was able to hone my skills for video. I had photography skills previously, but New Look is where my passion and talent for video flourished among other things.
Through New Look, I have been able to identify my spark and build up a more defined career path for me based on my interests. By allowing me to participate in opportunities to get hands on experience, engage with others, ask questions and get feedback on my work, I was able to unearth my talents. Some of the experiences I had during camp, the Leadership Academy, and as an MIT included the Project Restart concert, the “I Can’t but you can” voter registration drive, Nothing but Nets, Powered by Service, Tom Cruise Project Rescue Workers Detoxification Project in Las Vegas, and internships with People TV, NHL, GE and WNBA to name a few. Most recently, I was able to travel to Shanghai and Hong Kong to train 125 students in Powered by Service. All of these experiences made me realize how much bigger the world is than just my city and neighborhoods. In addition, New Look has introduced me to my mentors Antoine Haywood (PTV), Nirva Millord & Ken Yaffe (NHL), Pete Canalichio (Atlanta Dream) and John Rice & Mark Harrison (GE). All of these things together helped me realize that I need to take myself and the world more seriously, because there are things that I cannot take for granted —no matter how much more or less that I have than someone else.
New Look’s Four Pillars are set in place and are purposeful. They all work hand in hand with each other. They have made me who I am today. My talents helped me shape what I studied in school to get a better understanding of what career fit me best and then take all of that and pay it forward in service to others. I believe service is what makes a good leader, because service is not always something that is easy to do. It takes a certain person to say I want to serve and help others around me; I want to be open and giving. Not many people have open giving spirits, so being a good leader means you can motivate others to do good deeds, but you are also showing yourself to others to say I am walking the walk.
It makes me feel great that I am close to finishing a full 360 with New Look, coming into the program in 2005 and now a continuing graduate student. I am one of the first participants to graduate college who has cycled through the entire program, so I can share my challenges with the youth and they understand where I am coming from because this journey has not been an easy one.
As an alum, I have that brand as a veteran in the organization, but I also take care of anything New Look like it was a million dollars because I know what it did for me and others. My goal is to one day receive a nomination to become a member of the New Look board or maybe the Atlanta programs committee. I want to help impact the youth just has the board members and committee members that have impacted my life.
Thank you New Look:
I have probably shared this sentiment before but there are not enough thank you’s to go around to show the amount of gratitude and appreciation that I have for Usher & New Look. Over the years he has shared many words that have fueled me to keep pushing harder and seeing him as a “Big Brother” and someone who is real and relatable gives me the encouragement that I can be successful just like him. New Look is not my second family, New Look is my family. I have made so many bonds and genuine life long relationships. Many of my memories were started in New Look and I think back on my journey everyday, thankful for the opportunities that I have been granted. I am so thankful that I am on my way to continue to make an impact on the world.