Usher's New Look Foundation celebrates 15 years

ATLANTA -- Usher? Ludacris? Josh Kaufman? Sugar Ray Leonard?


The biggest star at Usher's New Look Foundation 15th anniversary celebration, held Thursday at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead, was a face far less familiar.

Jasmine Pollard.

"It's been amazing," she said, "to be part of this organization, and it means a lot to me to be honored by them."

Pollard received the Youth Achievement Award at the gala.

"Being around people that have achieved so much in their life is just amazing, and I give a big thank-you to New Look for allowing me to be in the presence of people like that."

To be sure, the big names turned out for Usher's big event.

"I love that we're leading by example," said Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, who served as the gala's MC.

"I'm here as a friend and as a supporter," said boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who Usher will portray in an upcoming movie.

The pop superstar from Atlanta founded New Look in 1999, before the peak of his fame, to help underprivileged youth develop skills to become leaders.

"To be prepared for life is obviously more important," he said to the crowd at Thursday's fundraiser. "To graduate, to establish a talent and focus is far more important than anything because it can take you anywhere."

Pollard wanted nothing more than to be a singer, and she still holds out that goal. But thanks to New Look, she has thought bigger. This year, this oldest of nine kids will receive a bachelor's degree in public relations from Georgia Southern.

On this day, she got to stand in front of all the famous faces and say thanks.

"Just because life sometimes sets you up to fail," she said, "that doesn't mean you have to."


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