Powered by Service works with Pan-African Youth Leadership Program

On April 8, 2019, I, along with three other MITs, facilitated a special Powered By Service training for 125 African students and teachers representing 19 African countries. These youth were a part of the Pan-African Youth Leadership Program, where they were nominated to the US Embassy by their respective country and offered a three week leadership exploration throughout the United States and we were their first stop! Upon meeting the students, they were extremely enthusiastic, full of energy, engaging, and had a great amount of confidence within themselves. They enjoyed the curriculum and questioned anything they were unsure of. We engaged in informative conversations based on the activities as the customs of life are unique to each students’ country. We tackled the concept of leadership 101 and the differences of all the multiple types of leaders, we explored personal sparks and students discovered things they didn’t realize about themselves, and began creating a network of like minded people that would help the students make their dreams come true. My favorite topics during this training was Money Matters and Exploding the Issue. During Money Matters and particularly 4 Corners of Credit, is where I got to really see the difference between the Northern African students and the Southern African students. A lot of the concepts surrounding credit were new and a little foreign to the Northern African participants yet the South African students were well versed in the area. It was intriguing to learn what some of the students were unfamiliar with and why they strayed away from it. Lastly, Exploding the Issue was an emotional topic because the issue my class decided to dissect was banning girls from school, which I didn’t realize was still an issue in 2019. We dived into the issue by looking at the deep rooted reasons why it’s an issue, the causes that it leads to, and some solutions that can begin to prevent this from happening. It was a great conversation and an eye-opener to me. This was my favorite PBS training I’ve done yet and I’m glad I was able to actually provided the students with information that they were happy to take back home with them. They learned some things but I also gained a great amount of insight as well.

Usher’s New Look MIT

MIT Kaija Johnson

Learn more about UNL’s Powered by Service Program.

Follow the Money Tour

Usher’s New Look (UNL) hosted its inaugural “Follow the Money Tour” in Washington, DC, during the February 18th-21st mid-winter recess school break.  The tour, made possible by a grant from SunTrust Foundation, is part of UNL’s Financial Literacy training infused into the organization’s Powered By Service (8th grade), Leadership Academy (grades 9-12) and Moguls-In-Training (college/postsecondary) programs.  The 25 10th- and 11th-grade Leadership Academy youth from the Atlanta and New York chapters of the organization learned about financial principles by visiting a variety of stops.  The Office of Financial Education at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau presented a workshop on budgeting and credit fundamentals. The students had the opportunity to tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and learn some of the history of our currency.  Students visited the original location and indulged their taste buds at one of the historic DC family-owned restaurants, Ben’s Chili Bowl. They learned the story of the family’s journey from starting a small business to earning national recognition. They discussed the impact a business, no matter the size, can have in building a strong community.  Students also participated in a Networking Social where they heard from community leaders and entrepreneurs, Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright, also known as The Furlough Cheesecake Sisters. The “Sisters” shared their story of how they used their sparks (talents) to launch a business during the recent government shutdown. The students were able to take advantage of the proximity to another historic landmark, taking a tour of Howard University and learning about financial aid processes and student life on campus.


“With only 16 percent of Americans ages 18-26 being optimistic about their financial future, it is important that the youth we serve in Usher’s New Look begin to develop financial well-being habits early.  This trip presented a tremendous opportunity for them to understand the impact of financial decisions in various aspects of their lives. We are confident that the SunTrust Foundation investment in our youth will transform their futures as they prepare to become leaders of the next generation,” said Careshia Moore, CEO, Usher’s New Look.


Youth also had an opportunity to take in the sights including a visit to the National Museum for African American History and Culture, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial.


“This trip gave me a lot of financial wisdom that enabled me to be aware of credit cards, budgeting, and knowing how to spend money for the right situations,” said Neil, an 11th-grade Leadership Academy youth.  “This trip also gave me the opportunity to be more of an explorer. It allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. It also gave me the wonderful opportunity to try new food and meet new people.”


Through a grant from the SunTrust Foundation, UNL has been able to add the financial literacy component to other programs offered. The new curriculum focuses on helping students identify core life values, gain practical experience in making wise financial decisions, and real-life application to improve their quality of life. The “Follow the Money Tour” is the first of two financial-focused trips this year.  The next will be in New York and will focus on investing.


“My mission for this trip was to give the students another perspective on how money works, to go beyond the classroom and see how money is used in our government, in the lives of entrepreneurs and the world around us. It is my hope that as a result of this experience, these students will apply the wealth building principles they were exposed to and take full responsibility of their financial futures,” shared Jessica Washington, director of financial literacy who spearheads the program.

Powered by Service

Powered By Service is a UNL program where businesses and UNL staff go into a school and conduct training sessions for middle or high school students. The program uses peer-to-peer interactions and highlights the benefits of servant leadership combined with enhancing talent, exploring career paths and nurturing education by focusing on one area of expertise per session. We work in conjunction with sponsor businesses to bring these beneficial programs into the school setting.

UNL just started up our 2019 PBS season and we have two participants who wanted to share their experience.

PBS Review by Jamila Jeffers

Powered By Service (PBS) season has officially begun!  My name is Jamila Jeffers, Sophomore, International Business Major at Howard University from Brooklyn, NY.  We kicked off PBS season with training over 300 freshmen at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia and it was ultimately a great experience. I was granted the opportunity to train these students just one week before I began my second semester of Sophomore Year and it has been the kick-start, I need to fuel me into finishing strong.

During this week of training, I was challenged with working and bonding with individuals from different backgrounds and with different learning styles. Through this experience, I was able to use my leadership skills to teach three consecutive classes, while maintaining the energy and flow of each class.  It was a difficult and challenging week but, in the end, it was a rewarding experience.

Along with fun, interactive learning activities we immersed students in practical sessions on leadership, personal brand development and the most popular Financial Literacy. Students were able to learn about credit, balancing a budget, networking with a purpose and proper money management. Overall, what mattered most to me was that I was sowing a seed into every student.  Affirming that they are important, along with their interests and the things they enjoy doing most.

PBS Review by Harley Vinsonhaler

From January 8-11, 2019, Usher’s New Look partook in a fun-filled week at Pebblebrook Highschool in Atlanta, GA. The UNL Moguls in Training program had multiple leaders from across the United States come teach lessons to the freshman class on basic life skills such as networking, personal branding, leadership, and budgeting.

Throughout the week of Powered by Service (PBS), students were not only able to play games, express themselves and their talents to their fellow peers, but they were also able to explore their future careers, what their “spark” and or passion is, and had the opportunity to work with members from Suntrust Bank. This gave the students a chance to be engaged and hands on with their peers and leaders to solve problems for the assigned activities. In result, students received a certificate of completion to show that they had completed the week of PBS.

Blogging Around 4/1-7

Tuesday April 3

We were out and about last week. Our speaker series launched at Pebblebrook HS by featuring local Entrepreneurs who shared their story with #UshersNewLook students. We also took college tours at Auburn and Alabama State.

At UNL we know hearing inspiring stories from real world success stories can be an example that many kids don’t often get to see and being exposed to how raw and real experience is enlightening. Our mission at UNL is to provide resources to kids they may not otherwise have access to and support them in creating their own success story.


March 6

Sports are about a lot more than a Win or Loss. The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace celebrates sports and their widespread contribution to education, human development, a healthy lifestyle and world peace. The day also serves to raise awareness for the positive influences of sport on the advancement of human rights, and both social and economic development of nations worldwide by encouraging social inclusion, fair play and team spirit.

In many cases, people have been able to achieve greatness based on their abilities, not their socio-economic background or race.  While we @ushersnewlook applaud all athletes for their talent and dedication, we are working to help youth identify their “spark” or passion and prepare them for successful careers in that area – regardless of the industry. #Disruptivator

Blogging Around 3/25-3/31

March is National Nutrition Month

According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in the U.S. face hunger every year. The rates of hunger in children are even higher, with about 1 in 5 lacking proper access to food at some point during the year. @UshersNewLook, kids are supported and encouraged to be the next generation of leaders and real leaders support their community in return.

This week we @UshersNewLook supported our community food bank by donating spices and sturdy bags so people can easily carry items. We chose spices because if someone is relying on a food pantry for necessities, the food may address nutrition needs, but lack flavor without something to spice it up.

2018 Disruptivator Summit Sponsor Packet

Blogging Around 3/18-24

March 23

National Puppy Day is held on March 23 every year in hopes of improving the lives of puppies everywhere. In the USA, approximately 2.11 million puppies are sold from puppy mills. Visit an animal shelter and adopt, volunteer, or donate today. Share a pic of you and your pup on social media. Use hashtag #nationalpuppyday and #puppyday.

At UNL we embrace and support our community, 2 legged and 4 legged alike.

Blogging Around 3/11-3/17

March 11

Spring forward – If you think Daylight savings time is an American thing or even a recent change in how we keep time, think again. Daylight Savings Time is used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over 1 billion people. In 1908, residents of Port Arthur, Ontario (Thunder Bay today) were the first to use Daylight Savings Time and Germany and Austria began in 1916. It started way before then though – ancient civilizations used similar practices. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year.  Who knew thousands of years ago our ancestors lost an hour of sleep around this time of year too?  It is time to change more than just the time, it’s time to change the futures of youth that may not have the tools or support in place to succeed. @UshersNewLook, we’re changing that narrative. We serve over 5,000 youth from schools with the lowest graduation rates and 98% of our students not only graduate but go on to higher education.


March 14

What is your favorite kind of Pi?

March 14th celebrates the mathematical constant that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter which is approximately 3.14159 or Pi. The first known large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies.

S.T.E.M. jobs are growing exponentially, yet the gap in employment remains. A whopping 67% of Science and Engineering jobs are held by white workers. Asian men and women make up 21%, meaning only 12% of employees are other minorities. @UshersNewLook is helping under privileged kids break into emerging job markets by having successful scholastic careers.

Blogging Around 3/4-3/10

March 8

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life, grandmothers, teachers, aunts, cousins, neighbors, who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”  Michelle Obama

Today is International Women’s Day and while great strides are still being made towards bringing equality to women and standing strong against abuse, #MeToo, there remain many children and teens of all genders that do not have the support to lead successful, rewarding lives. @UshersNewLook, we provide that support to underserved youth and groom them for success and living the lives of their dreams.


March 9

Come join UNL’s 4H club to further develop your spark and brand portfolio. Current HS students are invited to join @UshersNewLook and the UG Extension Fulton County for a new 4-H club that focuses on college and career prep, public speaking, and developing your unique interests and talents. March 13th 6-8pm at the UNL offices. #Disruptivator


Blogging Around 3/1-3/3

March 1, Zero Discrimination Day – what does that mean to you? Zero Discrimination Day aims to celebrate individuality, inclusion and human rights while promoting tolerance, compassion and peace. Discrimination refers to the selective practice of unfairly treating a person or a group of people differently than others due to multiple factors such as religion, gender, race, sexuality, age, or disability amongst others. Despite laws and education, discrimination continues to be a wide-spread problem throughout the world.

Ways to acknowledge the day…Print out a butterfly and post of photo of you holding it on SM. Butterflies of all colors can represent the beauty of diversity.



March 3 is World Wildlife Day so get outside and commune with mother nature today. @UshersNewLook, we encourage all our students to embrace new experiences to become fluent, well-rounded adults that are the next generation of leaders. That can include balancing work and school life with an appreciation of nature.  #DoOneThingToday