Meet Our ‘United to Ignite Awards’ Emcee & Honorees!

Join us July 23rd in Atlanta for our annual President’s Circle Luncheon. This year, we are celebrating our 16th year with ‘The United to Ignite Awards’, Honoring Ignitors of Youth Empowerment. Check out the Emcee and Honorees below. We’re excited! Are you? Visit www.unitedtoignite.splashthat.com to purchase tickets or sponsorship. Go to http://www.bit.ly/1J66jYS to donate for a chance to win a trip to the event, plus meet and greet with Usher.

Ludacris, Event Emcee

Ignitor of Service Award Recipient 

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Ludacris is an award-winning artist and actor who has been actively dedicated to improving the lives of underserved youth for over fifteen years. In 2001, he founded The Ludacris Foundation, which inspires youth through education and memorable experiences to live their dreams by uplifting families, communities and fostering economic development. His organization’s key areas of leadership and education include hands on community outreach as well as coaching students to live healthy lifestyles in order to inspire them to achieve their goals. His service work includes volunteering and supporting Usher’s New Look since the launch of Camp New Look in 2005, a precursor of UNL’s current Leadership Academy. In 2012, Ludacris hosted UNL’s World Leadership Conference and performed an exclusive ‘Usher & Friends’ Concert, which benefited UNL youth programs. In 2014, he hosted the President’s Circle Awards Luncheon, celebrating UNL’s 15th year anniversary. Through his annual LudaDay Weekend in Atlanta, Ludacris has raised proceeds, which have supported UNL’s development of global youth leaders. Overall, his passion for empowering youth and their families has helped many find hope and become leaders in their communities.

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Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

Ignitor of Education

Mr. Cagle has shown unyielding commitment to serving youth, our communities and has provided ultimate leadership in supporting and inspiring Georgians. Specifically, his leadership provided through Georgia’s “Healthy Kids Challenge“ and the Georgia College and Career Academy Network have been directly responsible for providing students with access to an environment that best illustrates excellence in college and career academies, as well as healthy and profound lifestyle decisions. The Georgia College and Career Academy Network, a partnership between local community leaders, school systems, and Georgia’s Technical Colleges, provides relevant and rigorous curriculum aimed at preparing students for a highly skilled, 21st-Century economy. Thanks to Lt. Governor Cagle’s leadership, Georgia has 33 college and career academies today with additional academies planned every year. Furthermore, Mr. Cagle’s Charter System Initiative and tireless passion for developing future leaders has ignited entire school systems to convert to charter system status, thus placing the focus back to best educate our youth.

Additionally, Mr. Cagle is a true ambassador of Usher’s New Look. Through the Georgia House of Representatives Commemoration on March 19, 2015, he implemented an official Resolution celebrating 16 years of service for our organization. We are very thankful for his efforts and honor him for his vision as an Ignitor of Education in the state of Georgia and creating a ripple effect around the world!

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Kids 4 Kids, Accepted by Michele Lai, Founder

Ignitor of Global Youth Empowerment

In 2008, Michele Lai founded Kids 4 Kids, a Hong Kong-based non-profit that creates opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to discover their talents, become creative problem solvers and engage in volunteering programs in their community, as well as globally. Through their joint-mission and partnership, Kids 4 Kids has provided UNL’s U.S based students with the opportunity to grow as leaders by training youth internationally in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Additionally, Kids 4 Kids youth traveled to the U.S in 2012 to participate in UNL’s World Leadership Conference. Possessed with the unrelenting mission of developing global-minded youth and empowering them to change the world, Ms. Lai’s selfless commitment toward continuing the Power By Service Training Program (PBS) in Hong Kong is providing children access to education—a basic need to which every human being is entitled. Michele Lai has further shown that change can begin with one individual who is committed to the highest standards of moral principles.

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Elizabeth Williams, UNL Detroit Youth, Co-Founder, Books IV Bonding

Ignitor of Global Youth Leadership

Elizabeth Williams joined Usher’s New Look Detroit as a struggling High School student and is now in her fifth year of the program. Currently a senior in college at Grand Valley State University, Elizabeth is a member of UNL’s Moguls in Training Program and studies Advertising and Public Relations. In 2014, she and her sister Rebecca (also a UNL Detroit student), launched their own nonprofit called Books IV Bonding, named after their mentor, Usher Raymond IV. After Rebecca visited Kenya with Usher’s New Look in 2011 and witnessed a school library badly burned by fire, she and Elizabeth were so moved that teamed up to create the nonprofit, which provides literature to struggling schools both in Kenya and Detroit. Ultimately, they hoped to create a cross-cultural dialogue between Kenyan and Detroit youth by having them read the same books and discuss online. In November 2014, at the nationally-aired ‘BIGGERTHAN Words Reading Webcast’, Usher and Scholastic helped the two young women officially launch the nonprofit by providing them their first real donation: 2,000 Books!