All of these legendary people pictured above have one thing in common: SPARK

It all starts with a SPARK… Read the article below to learn how you can join UNL in developing the next generation of global youth leaders.

What is ‘SPARK’?

SPARK \ˈspark \

  • (verb) To help someone connect their passion with a bigger purpose in life or career
  • (noun) The one passion or talent that ignites your life’s bigger purpose

All of these legendary people pictured above have one thing in common:

They became who they are today, because someone or something “sparked” them! Our programs for students in 8th grade through college are providing youth with the exposure needed to find career pathways that match their passion.

We Believe Passion + Potential = Purpose

UNL is the “spark starter” for many kids who simply don’t have the resources to connect the dots on their own. All of the people pictured above were once ordinary kids, but once sparked, they seized the opportunity to become extraordinary. That’s all UNL kids need to become great leaders and world changers.

17 Years Later: What’s Igniting the Future for Usher’s New Look?

This year, our goal is to focus on doing more of what we do best: Sparking young minds. In 2015, we trained and certified 4,300 students, adding to our grand total of over 31,600 youth served worldwide since 1999. Students we train learn how to identify their spark, or career pathway, and recognize their potential to be the next generation of leaders. In 2016, our goal is to expand and grow, while maintaining the special personal connections and case management that make our organization unique and programs effective.

How We’re Going to Do It + 3 Ways You Can Help


    1. Serve More Students: Our peer-to-peer model allows us to have a constantly growing workforce who are relevant to the youth that we serve. All students who cycle through our programs become trainers of our introductory curriculum, Powered by Service, once they reach senior year of high school and enter college. This year, we plan to host “train the trainer” sessions with more UNL students coming up through the ranks. With the right community partners and funding, this will naturally allow us to expand our program to more youth who need us. More schools + More cities = More kids making a difference. Help us expand our national programs by making a direct donation to our programs here: OR by attending our Signature Event on September 14th. Purchase event tickets & sponsorship at
    2. Open our First Youth Center: This year we not only want to serve more youth, but we want to go deeper with the youth already involved in our programs. By opening our first youth center, The Spark University, in Atlanta, GA, we will create a global meeting space and think tank for UNL youth from all around the world to come to learn, create and innovate. Our goal for the center is to create more opportunities for youth to be exposed to different industries and career pathways within their passion and curiosity. Learn more about Spark University today and how you can help us bring it to life here: OR attend our Signature Event and launch party for Spark University on September 14th. Learn more at
    3. Grow Our Emergency College Scholarship Fund: 100% of our students graduate high school on time. Every UNL student can identify their spark or career pathway. 98% of them are going onto college. Unfortunately, the real struggle is keeping our students in college once they get there. No matter how prepared they are, 86% of our students are first-generation college students and come from poverty, making them vulnerable to dropping out. They are often unable to stay in school due to unforeseen financial emergencies. UNL’s Good Giver Society, our lowest level giving society that starts out at $35, gathers a pool of money for students to apply for to tap into when they need assistance for anything from book fees, outstanding tuition balances, grad school exam fees and sometimes even food. Joining the Good Giver Society is an easy way to support a UNL student at a critical step in their journey. Donate $35 today and get a free baseball tee with your membership. 100% of all proceeds go directly into the fund!

If you have another way to offer support to our programs in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit, and N.Y, such as through in-kind donations or student exposure opportunities (i.e job shadow, internship, guest speaker), please email