Ludacris Foundation Hosts Usher’s New Look Powered by Service Training for 220 Atlanta Youth

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and The Ludacris Foundation partnered with UNL to host one of UNL’s day-long Powered by Service (PBS) Leadership Trainings for 220 Atlanta High School Students at the Carrie Steele Pitts Life Learning Center. Powered by Service is a one-day intensive peer-to-peer leadership training that teaches students how to identify their “spark” or passion, create their own blueprint for education and career success, and understand how they can then use their future success to give back to the community. The PBS curriculum is validated by Emory Goizueta Business School, and all students who complete the training receive an accredited local leadership certification.

Ludacris joined forces with UNL to give back to his local Atlanta community with a PBS Training as part of a commitment he made at last year’s United to Ignite Awards event to give back to his former high school, Banneker, and other local high schools. The Powered by Service training certified 220 students from Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County, and Clayton County schools. Specifically, students who participated came from Carrie Steele Pitts, Banneker High School, Douglas Middle School and High School, and Utopian Middle School.

The workshop was delivered by UNL’s peer trainers, who are high school and college students who have matriculated through the UNL’s leadership programs since they entered in the 8th and 9th grade. Our trainers travelled in for this opportunity from throughout the Atlanta area, Detroit, Milwaukee and New York chapters.

First, the Ludacris Foundation kicked off the training with some fun warm up exercises to get the students awake and moving.

Warming up with @ludacrisfdtn before @ludacris gets here! #StartTheSpark #Disruptivators #PoweredByService

A video posted by Usher’s New Look (@ushersnewlook) on


Next, the students heard from Ludacris’ mom, the President of his Foundation, Ms. Roberta Shields. UNL’s President, Yvette Cook, presented Ms. Shields with a gift of gratitude for partnering with our organization.

DLP_0302 Then, UNL’s Global Ambassador of Youth and Program Alum, James, got the students excited for the training to come by introducing them to the concept of what it means to be “Powered by Service”. Ludacris surprised the students as the opening speaker with some inspiring remarks about being the future leaders of our country and the world.


“There are many people who will be leaders, but there’s only one you,” he told the students. “It’s important that you find your God-given spark, and you are never too old to inspire someone else.”



Next, the students split up into small groups for the 6 hour training. Each group had two UNL peer trainers delivering the training curriculum. Ludacris made his rounds to interact with students in every room and deliver even more wisdom through relevant, one-on-one discussions with the students.




Through the curriculum, students received advice on how to,

  • “Spark” their passion and bring it forward in their education and career
  • Become better leaders
  • Develop their own positive personal brand
  • Develop their ability to be change agents throughout the world




In the last part of the training, we had students grab a post-it note and write an anonymous message about what they learned or liked about the Powered by Service program. Here’s some examples of what they wrote:





  • Today I had a lot of fun, it was a big experience. Ludacris made me think about my future a lot more.
  • I learned that everybody has a personal spark, the types of leadership, and the different types of leaders.
  • I learned that if you don’t plan ahead and make goals you are wasting your time in going to school. –Makayla C.
  • I took in a lot from this session. It really made me think about how I can be an even better leader.
  • Today I learned how to connect with new people, and our instructor had a lot of energy.
  • In this program we learned about how to be a leader and what leaders do. You have to want it in order for your dream to come true, never give up.
  • I learned that networking requires a firm hand shake.
  • I learned that in order to get somewhere, you’re going to have to do some stuff you don’t like.
  • Today I learned how to be a leader and learned interpersonal skills
  • I learned that a brand is how you present yourself. Such as your appearance, things you do, etc. You must keep a positive brand
  • I learned the importance of speaking out for yourself and those that don’t have a voice.
  • Today I learned that you may have struggles, but you should strive for the best.
  • This program is “fye” (FIRE)
  • I learned about the 4 pillars; talent, education, career, service you can do whatever you put your mind to, don’t let anyone stop you, just go for it.
  • Make sure you have a positive brand, watch your surroundings, be responsible for your actions, and don’t be a follower.
  • Your spark is your fire starter.
  • Find someone to help you with achieving your career.
  • It made me think about what I want to be when I grow up.
  • The entire experience did me some good. To be in an environment where somebody thinks the way you do, or have the same thoughts, and they are doing something with themselves is really pleasing.
  • The training led me to think more about the power of social media and branding. I was thinking on how I could spread my artwork using social networking
  • Ludacris said, “stand for something or fall for anything” and it stuck with me

Ms. Sheilds wrote us following the event,

“Our execution was flawless and fun. We make a great team.” 

Thank You Ludacris Foundation!


PHOTOS BY Prime Phocus LLC