Mother’s Day Feature: Meet UNL Alum, Taylor Hopkins

Meet Taylor

Hi, my name is Taylor Hopkins! I received the opportunity to join Usher’s New Look Detroit chapter in 2009, when I was in my senior year of high school. My “SPARKS” are baking and photography. Through Usher’s New Look, I was able to learn videography. I loved every moment of it. Baking has always been a passion of mine, so I knew my career was going to be a combination of these fields.


My New Look

A couple of my most memorable moments would have to be my first year at Usher’s New Look. I met some amazing kids and staff. Another great moment was in 2013, flying over 10 hours to China to train other youth in our Powered by Service curriculum. It was a challenge, because they didn’t speak great English, but getting to experience another culture was most definitely life-changing for me. I still communicate with a lot of the youth that we met in Hong Kong. My most memorable experience overall though, was being able to positively influence teens in my hometown of Detroit. Seeing them in the city and being able to see their accomplishments is the best feeling ever.

2013- China Trip- Taylor and youth at pbs

New Look taught me to have patience. Something can always go wrong, and you still have to be ready to give it your all. Never giving up was something I learned from New Look. In 2014, I had my first son, Caleb Michael. My mother died two months after I had him and it broke me. Took everything I had to not give up. I felt myself slipping into a deep depression, but Caleb Michael would not let me. He kept my spirit up. He kept me smiling. I moved back to Detroit from South Carolina and made things happen. I knew I couldn’t let him down. Having his bright brown eyes looking up at me pushes me to keep every promise I made to my mother and him. I love it. I have a reason to push myself to follow my dreams and accomplish my goals. Being a mother does something to you. You can never give up, because you know that you have this amazing gift that you can’t give up on. They depend on your every action. Your every word. How can you not want to do it for them?


Caleb Michael is a handful, but keeping a positive attitude helps me in raising him. Understanding that he is his own person doesn’t frustrate me. Being a great example for him is the best thing that I can do. Children tend to watch and observe so much, without you even noticing. Caleb Michael, my almost two-year-old, has already picked up cooking and baking.


My Career

Today, I own an online bakery called, “Tay’s Sweet Shop” (@TaysSweetShop on Instagram) here in Detroit, MI. We offer really great homemade cakes, cookies, pies, our famous cheesecake and a host of other amazing treats. We do small catering and events around the city. People enjoy our treats, because they taste amazing and are made with love. I came up with the idea, because it’s always been a passion of mine. So I followed my dreams. With the confidence that I grew with from UNL, I knew that I could do it. I believed in myself and stayed true. I knew that I could achieve my goals.


This career is the complete combination of both my SPARKS. I use photography to advertise my bakery online. I use the leadership and communication skills I gained from New Look to lead my company, from pitching ideas to keeping great communication. It’s effective. I would’ve never been able to do that before.


Giving Back

I’ve always wanted to help my community. Giving back makes me happy. Especially when the person needs it. Being Powered By Service (using your passion to make a difference) helps a lot. I took my SPARK and turned it into something that could benefit my community in the long run. Once Tay’s Sweet Shop is fully established, we will be going into the community with projects. Learning those great leadership and communication skills from my trainings, helps me be a great leader for my team. It helps with pitching ideas and keeping great communication. It’s effective. I would’ve never been able to do that before.

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2013- China trip- Taylor Angellic Cammie John Rashad and Richard