After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, music legend and humanitarian Usher urged young people worldwide to mobilize and utilize their resources to help the victims.
Days after the disaster- on January 18, 2010- Usher announced a partnership with the United Nations Foundation to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Through Usher’s non-profit, Usher's New Look Foundation, Usher challenged young people worldwide to raise $5 each to help the United Nations’ emergency response in Haiti.
Immediately after hearing Usher’s call to action Will Smith, NFL star athlete with the New Orleans Saints, called on his fans—especially young people in New Orleans to answer Usher’s call to action. “As our own Katrina recovery continues, the plight of Haiti today is too familiar for those of us in New Orleans to ignore. All of us should be compelled to help. That’s why I’ve joined Usher to help raise money for Haiti’s recovery efforts,” said Smith.
Smith has not only asked his fans to join the effort, but he has personally contributed $20,000 to send a mobile health clinic to Haiti on behalf of the world’s youth.
“This mobile health clinic will ensure that the UN Foundation can continue relief efforts beyond the initial response and recovery,” said Shawn H. Wilson, President of Usher’s New Look. “In times of crisis it is important to look beyond immediate needs towards sustainable solutions. Young people understand this, which makes the mobile clinic a fitting contribution on behalf of this group.”
Thousands of youth responded from 17 countries, with many examples of commendable youth-led service projects for Haiti. In India, an 11 year old girl named Makayla G. Gilliam-Price made beaded bracelets to raise money for Usher’s New Look’s Haiti relief efforts. In Malaysia, youth leaders from the ‘Power of 10Sen’ group are mobilizing 400,000 youth to raise small donations in their schools and communities. Additional examples include Sophie, a young girl in Belgium that worked with her classmates to create and sell artwork to raise donations. Kimberly Mcmillian at the Benjamin Franklin Senior High School in New Orleans raised $2500 by organizing a day where all students could wear Saints hats to school for a small price.
Mobilizing youth is made easier with tools such as the One Economy toolkit www.pic.tv/willsmith, located on Will Smith’s website, www.thewillsmith.com youth can inspire adults and peers alike to become involved.
By teaming up with the United Nations Foundation, young leaders around the world have directly supported Haiti relief and recovery efforts through the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, which disbursed $25 million immediately following the earthquake. Youth are directly helping the UN help Haiti by supporting humanitarian relief efforts including search and rescue operations, the provision of food, shelter, clean water and medical care, and now the recovery and rebuilding process.
In the months ahead, the UN’s life-saving work will continue, including delivering food and water to millions of Haitians, providing jobs to more than 200,000 people, ensuring women and children are safe and mitigating diseases such as measles and malaria. These are just a few of the daunting tasks that lay ahead but the UN is rising to the challenge, thanks to support for people around the world and, in particular, young leaders who are engaging their families, schools and communities to help the UN help Haiti.
Young people can continue to report on their efforts and accomplishments by logging on to twitter and Facebook and share their fundraising activities and successes with pictures, videos and statements. The ‘Powered By Service’ twitter page will be used to recognize and track efforts. For each dollar raised, youth are being encouraged to tweet their efforts @powerbyservice to demonstrate their commitment.
For information on fundraising for Haiti, please log ushersnewlook.org, thewillsmith.com or poweredbyservice.org.