UNL’s three programs for students middle school through college are helping youth from underserved communities discover their inner leader through Four Pillars: Talent, Education, Career and Service. Through the Service Pillar, we teach students that they can find power and purpose in life through giving back and creating change. During a UNL activity called Exploding the Issue, students are taught how to “explode” the causes and effects of an issue, in order to identify creative ways in which they can use their talent or “SPARK” to help solve it. First, students draw a tree diagram to identify the causes (roots) and effects (branches) of a problem. Then, they come up with a service project that will attack the root(s).
This past January on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, UNL New York Leadership Academy youth (high school students) decided they wanted to solve the issue of tension between people, especially teens, and police officers in their community. They teamed up with ‘NYC Together’, an organization that empowers youth and police to work together to create positive relationships and community change. NYC Together helped connect UNL students with local police officers, so that they could explode the issue together. After connecting, they found that one root cause of the problem was the community’s negative perception of police due to the national attention surrounding acts of police brutality. On the other hand, the police’s perception of youth in the community was flawed due to stereotyping and their perceived lack of respect.
To address the roots of the issue, UNL New York students and the NYPD decided they would create an art mural in the heart of the Brooklyn community outside of the 90th Precint. Through their collaborative vision, the mural would paint a new picture for the relationship between cops and the community. In March, UNL students and police began their series of ten weekly meetings; First brainstorming on what the mural will convey, and now actually painting the mural together.
>> read the official press release here
The final mural was unveiled the on June 10th! City officials, community partners and friends came out to support. We celebrated the success of what happens when communities come together with a shared vision and young people are empowered to see themselves as the creators of a better future Check out the project in photos below!
>>Want to support more projects like this one? Invest in the UNL SPARK CENTER.
January 18, 2016
April 4, 2016
April 16, 2016
#inspiring morning with the #intelligent & #caring National Director of @ushersnewlook @careshiamoore, the @ushersnewlooknyc team and @nyctogetherorg volunteer @kirby_frances! #dontlookaway we are just getting started!! @nypd #copsandkids #socialjustice
A photo posted by NYC Together (@nyctogetherorg) on
June 10, 2016
After months of hardwork between #copsandkids, the mural is up! Thank you to everyone who showed up to support @nyctogetherorg, @ushersnewlookny & the @nypd! Full story on ushersnewlook.org | #ourbrooklyn90thprecinct #serviceproject #police #community #brooklyn #poweredbyservice #StartTheSPARK #Disruptivators
A video posted by Usher’s New Look NYC 🗽 (@ushersnewlooknyc) on