During a keynote speech, award-winning artist, fashion designer, and philanthropist Pharrell Williams granted the entire 2019 graduating class of Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy a guaranteed internship.
Pharrell Williams Grants 114 Harlem Graduates An Internship
Last month, award-winning artist, fashion designer, and philanthropist Pharrell Williams delivered the keynote speech at Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy’s 2019 graduation ceremony. While on stage, Pharrell announced that he is guaranteeing internships to the entire graduating class following the students’ first year of college.
“The new Harlem Renaissance has education at its core,” — Pharrell Williams
All 114 graduating students of Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academies 1 and II, all of whom have received offers to attend colleges and universities, are guaranteed an internship in Williams’ network, the singer announced during his commencement speech in late June.
“So let me be clear … every member of the 2019 graduating class is guaranteed an internship waiting for them — you — next summer,” Williams told the delighted graduates.
The Promise Academy’s administration partnered with the producer to create an internship program that would give these students the connections necessary to succeed within their respective fields, according to CEO Anne Williams-Isom.
Williams-Isom told BuzzFeed News that many of her students "don’t have those connections to people … that can open doors for them."
“So when we have somebody who is willing to say something as important as ‘I will guarantee you a high-quality internship once you finish your freshman year of college,’ we thought that that was very valuable, and we’re very excited about it,” she said.
Another goal of this program is to “end generational poverty,” according to Williams-Isom.
“In order for us to get our community, these children, and these families out of poverty, we want to make sure that they are connected to a livable wage, and we know that for so many of our young people, the way that they’re going to be able to do that is with that college degree in their hands, but also with some experience from very good internships that they will be able to do while they’re in college," she said.
Along with an internship opportunity, Williams had some inspiring words to share about encouraging the kids to participate in a “new Harlem Renaissance.”
“The world is watching Harlem, but this Renaissance will be different. And believe it or not, with respect, it’s gonna actually be better. And the reason why is because the new Harlem Renaissance has education at its core," he said.
With this move, WIlliams is following in the footsteps of black billionaire Robert F. Smith, the investor who erased the college debt of Morehouse College’s class of 2019 earlier this year. Learn more.
From One Hand To AnOTHER Inc. was founded by Pharrell to give every child the right tools
From One Hand To AnOTHER Inc. (FOHTA) was founded by internationally renowned musical artist and producer Pharrell Williams in 2008 because he believed that every child could be a success if only they had the right tools.
Once Pharrell started traveling abroad utilising his talents and gifts, he realised that this incredible opportunity of seeing the world was something he never had before. He further understood that there were so many others who were not afforded the same opportunities.
There was a great deal more outside of the neighbourhood, within the world, that could grant amazing experiences, exposure to different cultures, ways of thinking and opportunities to broaden one’s education.
That discovery changed his life and is the reason he created educational opportunities for others.
Pharrell believes that every community with under-served youth should have access to activities and programs devoted to augmenting their learning experiences, and providing exposure to different technologies, arts, and resources.
Pharrell says, “Our organization, From One Hand To AnOTHER, is committed to bringing kids experiences that ignite their passions, challenge their minds and prepare them for success.”
While it began as a school supply giveaway at a local park in his hometown, FOHTA now provides over 1,700 children across the US with summer camps focused on S.T.E.A.M.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Motivation.
Serving predominantly at-risk and low-income elementary and middle school students, FOHTA’s Summer of Innovation camps integrate project-based learning and mentorship across all of their curricula—all while being 100% free of charge for the families.
FOHTA currently delivers S.T.E.A.M.M.-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation) summer camps for over 1,700 children at 20 locations in 6 states, and say they will continue to increase their impact each year.
SEE BELOW HOW PHARRELL HAS USED HIS INFLUENCE AS A MUSICIAN TO BECOME A SUPER-ACTIVIST
Pharrell has used his influence as a musician to become a super-activist
For the past decade, Pharrell Williams has done everything in his capacity to bring happiness to as many people as he can — whether that’s through fighting for the planet, encouraging political engagement, promoting educational empowerment, or championing women’s rights.
In 2011, the artist poured $35 million into the Pharrell Williams Resource Center, which provides a space for underprivileged Virginia Beach students to stay after school and study.
Looking like a magical treehouse of sorts, the resource center’s design is intentional — a means of inspiring learning in an unconventional setting.
“I wanted a building for the center that makes a statement to the world and the kids, something that will stand as a monument of optimism,” Pharrell said at the time. “We want the building to look like something out of the future, so it will inspire the kids in it to aspire to greater things.”
In 2018, the star performed at various charity fundraisers for lifesaving children’s efforts, including the UNICEF Ball and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles From Paris With Love Gala. He also launched a sneaker line inspired by African culture, which he hopes will motivate youth.
“Whether it’s inspiring a kid to not be quiet about what they believe in or encouraging a kid to go out and play tennis, both are a success,” he told GQ.
Not only does Pharrell believe in the power of youth to create change, he also knows that girls and women hold the key to a happier, healthier world.
In 2017, the artist gave a powerful speech at New York University’s graduation about the importance of lifting women up.
“As you find your ways to serve humanity it gives me great comfort knowing that this generation is the first to understand that we need to lift up our women,” he said. “Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better.”
At a concert in Milan, Italy, in 2015, he spoke out for migrants, dedicating his song “Freedom” to the Syrian and North African migrants crossing the Mediterranean Ocean in search of better opportunities in Europe.
But perhaps his most vocal activism has a lot to do with the present, and everything to do the future: the fight against climate change.
“I’m passionate about two big issues: climate change, and education and skills for young people,” Pharrell told leaders of the COP 21 in Paris, a summit of the world’s biggest economies convened to discuss climate change. “Climate change is one of the most defining issues of our time, one that threatens our very existence on Earth.”
Just like he’s done for his music, Pharrell has collaborated with a wide range of people and organizations in the fight against climate change.
That includes Al Gore, with whom he organized a 24-hour global concert, called “Live Earth” aimed at creating global solidarity in the fight against climate change (and which was canceled due to the terrorist attacks in Paris that fall).
Pharrell also worked with the fashion brand G-Star Raw to produce a line of clothing made from recycled ocean plastic.
Along with his plea to leaders at the COP21, he has spoken about climate change at UN and made a cameo in Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’.
“If you don’t take care of your home, then you don’t have a life,” he said at the UN, “so we have to now transition from climate change to climate action.”
3 Ways How to Help Poor Children to Have a Better Future (With Pictures)
Millions of children around the world lack access to basic necessities, such as food, clean water, sanitation, medicine, shelter, education, books, fun, family, laughter, love - but there is hope. You can help poor children have a better future in a number of ways. Volunteering your time and efforts to children can make a very big impact. You could also raise money or donate goods to charity. If you are willing to make a commitment, you can become a personal advocate for a child in need through mentoring and fostering. No effort is too small or too large to make.