As part of his ongoing efforts to encourage youth volunteerism and service, R&B singer Usher Raymond launched a new initiative entitled Powered By Service during the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York Thursday.
The multimillion-dollar campaign is an extension of Usherâ€™s New Look Foundation, which was established in 1999 to support young people to use their talents to become corporate and community leaders. The grant through Powered By Service gives young people age 12-20 the financial resources to support issues they are passionate about — whether itâ€™s preventing malaria, cleaning up local parks, or creating programs addressing teenage pregnancy and gang violence.
To kick off the initiative, Usher awarded two $500 grants to New York area youth at City Year headquarters later that evening. â€śYou can make a difference through your actions,â€ť Usher told the crowd. â€śYou can change problems in local communities or halfway around the world just through your service.â€ť
This bold new program puts youngÂ people completely in control. The grants range from $500-$1000 and are reviewed by members of Usherâ€™s youth advisory board. Once approved, the applicant is the CEO, and will with use the money to make change in their own backyards or globally.
â€śWe, the youth, are the future and what we do will impact the next 50 years,â€ť said Suprita Datta, 15, a volunteer for HandsOn Network, a partner of Usherâ€™s New Look. â€śIt starts now, it starts today, and it starts with you.â€ť
New Look has partnered with several organizations with a goal of mobilizing more than 5 million youth in a global call to service. Powered By Service is currently working with the United Nationsâ€™ â€śNothing But Netsâ€ť campaign to help combat malaria in Africa.Â Nothing But Nets has already delivered more than 150,000 bed nets to cover refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda, and New Look has pledged an additional 40,000 nets.
Shawn H. Wilson, president of Usherâ€™s New Look, noted that malaria is particularly devastating in Africa, where it is a leading killer of children. Each year 350 million-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and more than one million people die.
â€śA child dies of malaria every 30 seconds,â€ť said Wilson. â€śIt only cost $10 to send a net and save a life and thatâ€™s very empowering for our youth to know that they can act locally and have an impact internationally.â€ť
For more information about Usherâ€™s New Look and Powered By Service, visit www.ushersnewlook.org.