empower. our word of "every day"

Posted on December 08 2015

“empower” is the most important word in our vocabulary.

 umano has never been about handouts. our mission is to empower kids to unleash their creativity. a big part of that is making sure kids have the tools they need. for us, there is no greater reward than seeing that [magical] look in our Artists eyes and the raw confidence in their Artwork as they unleash their creativity and in the process empower each other.

 not too long ago, we took four incredible Artists and their families from our harlem, ny partner school on a vip tour of bloomingdales’ flagship store to see how their drawings came to life. it’s always inspiring to see their Artwork on display for everyone to enjoy, but we had no idea how much the trip would impact one of the DREAM charter school Artists, Souwadou, who drew #THETAIX (yes, we prefer the way she spells ‘taxi’).


there’s nothing like walking through the streets of manhattan. hundreds of people meander around the bustling cars and towering skyscrapers that line lexington ave. and right in the middle of this vast urban canvas, on the corner of 59th street is the world-famous bloomindale’s flagship store.

inside is a beautiful array of marble floors and bright lights shining on some of the most famous fashion designer’s creations. as we went up the escalator and approached our display, tears began to fill Souwadou’s eyes. right in the middle of the elegant store were her beautifully-designed taxis. we couldn’t imagine how she felt seeing her Artwork in what she described as “the most beautiful building she’s ever seen.” she was nearly speechless as she marveled over how far her creativity had already taken her. it was a powerful moment for us all. 

we do what we do at umano to help kids realize their fullest potential and we have so much gratitude for moments like the one we shared with Souwadou. her story isa spark that starts a journey, where she not only acts on her potential, but empowers others as well. it only takes one drawing for hundreds of other kids to receive a backpack full of school supplies and have the same opportunities to unleash their own creativity and create their own path. and the virtuous cycle goes on and on and on.

we are grateful for the opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves and help provide kids the tools they need to unleash their creativity. Artwork is our way of helping kids remember they are capable of anything. stories like Souwadou’s keep us going. we know the future will be full of them and we cannot wait.