Usher’s New Look: When and how did you discover New Look? What is your first New Look memory?
Helena: I am a senior in high school at Therell HS in Atlanta, GA. I was first introduced to Usher’s New Look when I was in the eighth grade. My school counselor suggested I join the program because she thought I would be a great fit for it. I was new to Atlanta so I didn’t have any idea of what the program was, I had never heard of it before. So as you can probably guess, I wasn’t as eager to join the program as I should have been.
UNL: Did New Look help you discover or enhance your “spark”? What is it?
H: New Look helped me figure out that my spark is my outgoing personality. New Look became my outlet. It is the place where I am most comfortable. I can showcase my talents and achievements without feeling like everyone is judging me. Everyone genuinely cares about my well-being and success. I feel accepted.
UNL: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve ever had to overcome?
H: Growing up, I never had it easy. I have had to endure homelessness, domestic violence, and sometimes not even knowing where my next meal was coming from. Through it all I have always been held at a high standard, which puts a lot of pressure on a young child, but every day I put on my biggest smile and work to achieve my goals. I still manage to be in the top 5% of my class and will graduate with honors.
UNL: How did you see your future before joining New Look?
H: Before New Look, I never thought I would find other people like me: People my age who aren’t immature and childish; Ones who know what they want out of life and can have an intelligent conversation. I never saw myself having mentors who actually take time out of their lives to make sure I am successful and treat me as if I have a whole other set of family.
UNL: Do you want to go to college? What schools or states are you interested in going to school at?
H: I plan on attending college in the fall of 2016. My top five colleges are Howard, Notre Dame, Princeton, Georgetown and Brown. I want to get a Masters in Business and a minor in Mass Communications. I also plan to go to law school where my preferred specialty is undecided.
UNL: How has New Look impacted your life?
- Being in the top 5% of my class
- Being 10th grade president
- Being BETA Club President
- Receiving an awards for my academic achievements from Nathan Deal and the University of Georgia
- Being able to use my new networking skills to get my own PAID summer internship at Richardson Bloom & Lines Family Law Attorneys, which turned into a part-time job! (Read about my experience HERE!)
- Being able to train other youth in my community through UNL’s Powered by Service curriculum
UNL: What are your future goals and career plans today? Have they changed since joining New Look?
H: After college, I want to start my own law practice. I want to own multiple businesses based off of ideas I have been cultivating for years. Since New Look I have found different ways to go about starting my business as far as marketing and creating apps.
UNL: I want to thank New Look for………
- Believing in me
- Giving me mentors and people that I will have relationships with for the rest of my life
- Showing me love and attention
- Exposing me to new opportunities
- Exposing me to new environments
- Giving me something to look forward to
UNL: How do you plan on giving back once you are a New Look alumni?
H: When I am a New Look alumni I want to come back and work for New Look. I want to introduce other kids like me to the program so they can have the same experience I had. New Look has helped me immensely and I just want to reciprocate the love and time they have given me.