OUR STORY – WHY WE CARE
Nearly 18 years ago in 1999, a then 20-year-old Usher Raymond IV sat in the back of an Atlanta courtroom with his mother Jonnetta Patton, listening to juvenile court hearings. As each teen took the stand and shared their testimony with the judge, their stories began to flow together. Each one was connected by a common thread; the circumstances that had led them there. At the root of each narrative, Usher and his mother observed a lack of mentorship, opportunity and exposure.
It was from this experience that Usher was driven to ignite a movement that would provide underserved youth with the ability to see past their current circumstances and discover a new perspective, or new outlook, on what their life could be. With the help of his mother, he formed Usher’s New Look (UNL), as a catalyst to empower and instill confidence in young people all over the world. His goal that year was to help 10 Atlanta students discover their potential and unlock their purpose. Nearly seventeen years later, UNL has now touched the lives of over 42,000 youth around the world.
SPARKING the Next Generation of Disruptive Innovators
UNL is on a mission to develop global youth leaders and change the world, one youth at a time. The organization offers leadership programs for students in middle-school, high school and through post-secondary education. UNL’s main focus is to teach youth how to identify their passion, or “spark”, early on and then connect it to a relevant education and career pathway. The unique and innovative curriculum is producing the next generation of well-rounded, forward-thinking leaders who excel in talent, education, career and service.
However, what truly sets UNL apart from other after-school programs or youth leadership organizations is its delivery style and approach. All UNL programming is youth-centric and delivered peer-to-peer by slightly older students who have successfully completed the program. Students find UNL’s curriculum relevant and engaging because of its incorporation of entertainment, culture, current events and technology.
WHY OUR WORK MATTERS
- 1.3 Million Students Drop Out of High School Every Year
- That’s like filling up Madison Square Garden 72 times
- It’s 1 student every 26 seconds
- High School Dropouts are 4X less likely to make a living wage
- 75% of all crime is committed by high school dropouts
- Young People with Purpose = A Better Future for Us All
Don’t let the cool factor fool you. UNL’s curriculum is validated by Emory Goizueta Business School, and all students involved go on to receive accredited leadership certifications from the University. UNL’s other notable stats include:
- 100% of all UNL Academy students graduate high school
- 98% go on to college
- 86% are first-generation college students
- 100% of UNL youth will go on to pay it forward as mentors to other youth in their communities and use their success to uplift their families. By investing in Usher’s New Look youth, you are paving the way to success for many generations to come. You are creating a special ripple effect towards a better future that we like to call “The New Look Effect”.
SO, HOW DO WE DO IT?
Passion + Peer-to-Peer + Practical Exposure + Power to Change the World. We’re meeting students at the intersection of technology, education and culture. Click here to learn about our 3 unique programs for middle school to college students!