Celebrity can be a powerful tool for good, and we were so impressed with Usher’s demonstration of support and interest in connecting with┬áso many of our local kids over at Studio Everything. His producers got back to Nikki Lewis on Thursday morning, September 8, about spending time over at Studio Everything, so the GHC team worked in overdrive to coordinate with local kids, artists, and parents to make sure everyone was ready for a big surprise from the musician himself!

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As Rondell Crier put it, “the kids were speechless with excitement that Usher took the time to hang out with them. It sent a clear message that they matter, and what they make with their own interests and talents can take them places.” Even later, during Back-to-School night at Hardy Elementary, the kids were still buzzing with energy from Usher’s visit. No one could quite believe it really happened, and yet, solid proof came in the form of tickets for each of the kids for Usher’s private Neighborhood Sessions concert at Dalewood Middle School.

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Teal Thibaud talked about the experience on The Tenesha Irvin Show, Sunday, as well as announcing Glass Street LIVE, inviting the community to come join the party on 9/24. Teal says, “It was incredible to have Usher come out to meet these kids, and see firsthand the great work happening on Glass Street. We couldn’t have had better timing for his visit either, as we are trying to get the word out about our block party, Glass Street LIVE, and people are paying attention.” Teal and Rondell both talked more on Jazzanooga’s radio segment, later on Sunday, about the boost this was for the kids and how energy remains high as we get closer to the Glass Street LIVE event.

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It was thoughtful of Usher to post social media footage on both Instagram and Snapchat about his experience on Glass Street, (even tagging our Instagram @glasshouselive, yay!) as he has over 4 million followers and can help spread the word about positive growth happening in our community. We were also inspired by his amazing performance Friday evening. The music production was kinetic, and Usher took time mid-show to share motivating words about the importance of arts in his education (he matched donations to Hamilton County Schools for art supplies and equipment while he was in town). So many of these kids hadn’t experienced music on that scale performed live, and he was at his best, so they were having the time of their lives. It was quite a trip for the adults that were able to attend as well, and everyone had a blast singing and dancing along like the true fans we are!

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