August 1-5, Usher’s New Look provided Powered by Service trainings for the entire freshman class of 745 students at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, GA. While historically, the New Look Leadership Academy has been an after-school and weekend program for high school youth, Pebblebrook is one of three Georgia schools to pilot our in-school Leadership Academy Model since 2015. These students will take Usher’s New Look as an elective class taught by New Look alum, Brandon Hamilton, a graduate of Georgia State University. The 4-6 hour Powered by Service training acted as an introductory touch point for these students to who we are and what our program is all about!
Read their takeaways and feedback on the transformative training below:
- “I learned that Usher’s New Look program was formed in 1999.”
- “I learned the four pillars are Talent, Education, Career and Service.”
- “I learned the true meaning of determination. I felt a positive energy from the people.”
- “I learned that change is possible”
- “I learned the difference between a democratic, dictator, toxic and laissez faire leader.”
- “I learned to always be positive.”
- “We learned that the 3 B’s are Believe, Behave and Become.”
- “The trainers taught me to not be shy. I liked most of it and it was fun.”
- “The leadership training was lit and our trainers were funny.”
- “I liked that they played music during the whole thing.”
- “I liked most of it.”
- “I learned that I have a lot of SPARKS. I love to travel and would like to play every instrument. I also want to run track. Actually, I want to play lots of sports.”
- “Usher’s New Look is an organization that changes people’s lives.”
- “My SPARK is drawing.”
Read about the training from eyes of UNL peer trainer, Kellie Moore:
I walked into Pebblebrook not knowing how this training would affect me. When the students first walked into the auditorium I was excited to get the day started and begin interacting with them.
When we began expressions, some of the students seemed to be shy or uncomfortable and didn’t want to get up in front of everyone to show their talent, but once Dewey explained to them the importance of taking that chance they were more open to expressing themselves.
After making the transition to the classrooms, the real fun began. We started with Networking 101 by having the students engage in a conversation with one of their peers, making sure to start with a handshake and keep eye contact. This woke the students up and made it easier to talk with them.
When that was finished, we moved onto the Leadership 101 lesson. We talked to the students about the different types of leaders and asked them to give examples. This is when the students really started to come out of their shells and share their thoughts and ideas about the various types of leaders and what qualities make them good or bad. We also made them apply the types of leadership to their own life experiences, which allowed them to really think about who they’re surrounding themselves with. As some of the students were sharing, you could really tell how this exercise was affecting them.
Finishing up Leadership 101, we had the students fill out their personal spark assessments before being released to lunch. When they returned, we opened up with Branding 101. We started by asking them what a brand was, and to identify some popular brands based on logos alone. We then asked them if they had a personal brand, or spark. A few of them said basketball or football, but some said hair, skateboarding or singing. The majority of the students thought that they didn’t have a personal brand and we explained to them that whether they believed it or not they had one. We also explained to them that how they portray themselves on social plays a huge part in creating their brand. After that we showed them to name some celebrities and what their brands were.
We then moved onto our “Exploding the Issue” exercise. We began by asking the students to name some problems or issues that they face in their everyday lives or that others face within their communities. There were a lot of suggestions, but the main ones were drug use and gang violence. We went through a practice tree diagram with the students, explaining to them that every problem has causes which are the roots, every problem has effects which are the branches and the problem itself is the trunk of the tree. The only way to get rid of the problem is to dig up the tree at the roots. After that, we broke the class up into groups and had them work together on their own trees with different issues. When they were finished, we asked for volunteers to share their work and just about everyone wanted to share. They had really opened up to us and were comfortable around us.
After finishing this lesson, we had a few minutes extra to just relax and talk. A lot of the kids were dancers so we turned on some music and danced and laughed and had a good time.
I would say that for my first time training, it was a success. I’m proud to be apart of New Look and can’t wait to train again.