Two UNL Students Receive Scholarships from the Tearte Foundation!

Last week, Jylla and Curtis Tearte of the Tearte Foundation surprised UNL student interns, Shani Moore, a graduate student at James Madison University and member of New Look since 2005, and Desirae Gibson, a Senior at Georgia State University and new member of our college program, with $1,500 scholarships to help cover costs for school. The girls received the scholarships after bonding with Mrs. Tearte over a Saturday girls’ afternoon. They had no idea it was coming, and both expressed how much the scholarship helped lessen their current financial stress. Read their powerful testimonials from the experience below and watch the video to see the surprise itself!

Interested in offering a surprise scholarship or opportunity to a New Look student? Email Danielle Kirk, Chief Development Officer, at

Desirae’s Story

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One day, while interning at the Usher’s New Look office, Mr. and Mrs. Tearte had a meeting with the President, Chief Development Officer and my fellow intern and new friend, Shani Moore. When they arrived for their meeting, I had the pleasure of introducing myself to the couple before having to leave for a prior engagement. In the next few days, Shani asked me if I wanted to join her to spend a Saturday with Mrs. Teatre. I happily agreed, even though I didn’t know exactly know why she wanted to meet with us, especially me, since we met so briefly. However. I decided why not?…It will be fun!

When we arrived at the Tearte’s I was just so amazed at how beautiful their house looked. She showed us around and asked us about ourselves before inviting us to brunch. The whole time I honestly was just caught up in amazement that I was in such a beautiful home and how nice and friendly she was being to us. What was supposed to be just brunch, turned into an adventurous day. Mrs. Tearte let us go to her pool and afterwards we talked for hours about school, life, our goals and just everything under the sun. It felt so comfortable being around her. She made us feel just like family. I shared with her things that I had never expressed to a stranger before. It just felt like we all were meant to meet. Before this summer, I did not know her or Shani and they really just made me feel those words were real.

This summer at Usher’s New Look has been out the ordinary. I never imaged that I would build such a close family in such a little time. Before and after that day at the Tearte’s, I had been dealing with so much. I had been living with different people every few weeks this summer, trying to maintain my part-time job, and dealing with a breakup on top of it all. I just felt so stressed out this summer, because I love working at Publix and interning with Usher’s New Look, but I was trying to get into school while having financial difficulties. It was taking a toll on me, but I tried hiding it. The only person I would confide in besides my close friends was Shani. She became like a sister to me.

One day I broke down with everything I was dealing with and decided to leave UNL. Of course the whole UNL team was confused and concerned. Shani told them about the dilemmas and challenges I was facing and how I didn’t want to really leave UNL, but couldn’t afford coming to work each day at the office. To my surprise, the entire UNL staff reached out to me and showed their support, from calls, to texts, to helping me with food and gas and even getting my stuff together for school. The crazy thing is that they even offered to help me get business attire, because they knew I felt embarrassed from having little to no clothes in the office and feeling out of place in meetings. It was crazy how nice and generous they were to me. The team went out their way to make sure I had everything I needed and kept encouraging me to trust God and have faith about everything going on around me. It had me break down crying just knowing how supportive and encouraging they were.

Which leads me to to an amazing week, the UNL staff surprised me by telling me and Shani to come to the office on August 11, 2016 for a meeting. I was unsure why I needed to come to this meeting and why it was so important. I just was told be at the office at 10am. When I saw the Teartes come in I was so happy, I still didn’t know why we were meeting with them, but I hadn’t seen them since that Saturday, so it was great to meet with them again. As the meeting went on, they kept talking about their Foundation and all they have done for the community. I was still unaware what was about to take place, because they are partners with UNL so I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until she told us that she wanted to support the interns at UNL by giving Shani and myself $1,500 scholarships that it hit me. I literally broke down crying. Everyone at New Look knew how bad I needed that scholarship to attend school. I had been going to church regularly and praying for some type of miracle to happen. I never imagined that God had this already laid out for me. Nobody has ever surprised me or done anything like this for me before.

2016-Tearte Scholarship-Desirae and Shani (5)

That week just continued to just get better, to think the day before all this happened I was talking to Shani, crying about my personal issues and then the next day I get a scholarship, find out that UNL found me a place to stay and received a job offer from this company I had been interviewing for. This all literally happened in one week! It was crazy.

I just thank my UNL family so much for staying on top of me and not allowing me to give up and helping me fight for and push towards my goals. Usher created UNL with the mission to build leadership in the youth, and his staff has implemented those skills on me, even as an intern and new student in the program. I’ve never felt anything like this. I just want to say, thank you again, Usher’s New Look and the Teartes for supporting us. I appreciate you so much. Both foundations have blessed my life more than they will ever know.

Shani’s Story


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