essential stories

Shaikeria Stallings

Fifteen Alum | College of Wooster

"Before becoming a student in the FIFTEEN program, I did not think that college was an option for me. I believed that I would graduate from high school and go into the workforce and that would be as far as I would make it."

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2 0 1 8  M I D Y E A R  C A M P A I G N


      Help us raise $40,000 By June 30, 2018

Support our efforts to EMPOWER, ENSURE, and EDUCATE to INCREASE IMPACT!

We need your assistance in order to EMPOWER students to graduate on time, ENSURE that students have access to training, and EDUCATE students on affordable postsecondary education options.

                                  Please Donate!



Graduation  Celebration

"Fifteen" Program's

 Senior Class of 2018
Annual Graduation Ceremony
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Georgia Tech


Are you an Alumni of the FIFTEEN program? Did you serve as a past facilitator, team lead or volunteer? We want to hear from you!

Essential2Life is gathering input for our inaugural FIFTEEN Alumni event and future FIFTEEN Alumni group.

Reconnect with us by completing this short survey and letting us know how we can serve you.


Sometimes a student just needs a shoulder to lean on. Caring, supportive adults create an environment that allows students to receive sound advice and emotional support.

E2L's mission is to develop and empower urban youth as emerging student leaders who will positively influence their families, schools, communities, and the world.

The four Fifteen program core values around which the curriculum is based – character, commitment, service, and lifelong learning, are the cornerstones on how we help accomplish our mission.


Our FIFTEEN leadership and life skills development program ensures that at-risk students in the Metro Atlanta area have the support they need to graduate from high school with a plan for their future.  


Our volunteers spend 8 Saturdays per semester engaging high school students through a series of life lessons that promote commitment, service, life-long learning, and character. They support on time high school graduation, financial literacy, access to debt-free post-secondary education, and youth leadership.


 Character is one of our four core values. Recently, our sophomore class took a trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site to discover the meaning of character.

Our team leads and volunteers teach students to show great character, even when it may be difficult.

As Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Service is one of the four values of our FIFTEEN program. Our students are taught to be servant leaders and to treat others as they would like to be treated.

Last month, students from Osborne High School, Maynard H. Jackson High School, and South Atlanta High School volunteered for The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Booth Towers and treated our senior citizens to a Bingo Game, spaghetti dinner, played instruments, and customized paintings for their apartments.

 Click here to see more about Ar'mon

Growing up in a broken home, Ar'mon’s family experienced eviction and moved six times throughout his childhood. Though a capable student, by his sophomore year Ar’mon was skipping school, hanging out with the wrong crowd and considering dropping out. His future looked bleak.

GOOD NEWS: With the help of FIFTEEN, Ar’mon refocused on academics, graduated from high school and is attending Alcorn State University in Mississippi on a scholarship, where he plays trumpet in the marching band.

“I was headed down the wrong road, a dead end. Fifteen taught me to change my character, to be a better man. I learned to never give up, that perseverance is the key to success.” -Ar'Mon


E2L Entrepreneur Training Program

Over the past few months, Essential2Life (E2L) has had the opportunity to partner with Operation HOPE, Inc., to introduce to our Junior class the idea of turning a personal interest, dream and skill into a viable business idea and the art of pitching that idea. This course was taught by local professionals and business owners and helped our young leaders develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking, and project management amongst others. Our young leaders first completed a 15-hour Hope Business In A Box Academies (HBIABA) Entrepreneur Training Program.
Now, upon completion of the entrepreneur training, our students have the opportunity to participate in our “Pitch Competition.” Each participant will be given 2 minutes to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. At the conclusion of the pitch event, winners will receive an HBIABA business start-up kit and up to a $500.00 grant to purchase the materials and supplies required to transform their winning idea into a fully operational business. Pitch Competition winners will also be aligned with a Business Role Model who will provide the necessary technical support to launch their winning idea into a business.

FIFTEEN Leadership Program

Our FIFTEEN leadership and life skills development program carries metro Atlanta high school students through a 3-year interactive curriculum focusing on core values of character, commitment, service and life-long learning.  FIFTEEN develops emerging leaders and well-rounded individuals who take ownership of their future and promote social responsibility within their communities.


Impact Report


College Access

We prepare students for post-secondary success and help them gain access to leading public and private universities.


From the New Executive Director

Accelerating Impact 

As I think about what Vince and Allison have accomplished in the hearts and minds of countless youth in our community, I’m am honored and humbled to be a part of E2L 2.0!

We love our city and we love our youth.  Our future lies within the hearts of our youth and it’s our responsibility to prepare them for the challenges ahead.  But there's a silent killer that is attacking our young people.  The countless temptations to distract them from receiving the necessary education, educational inequality, poverty and much more leave countless youth at-risk and underserved.  Too many youth have no hope for a future and that is not acceptable!

Together we will continue to restore their hope and be a bridge for the better tomorrow we all hope for.  Please join me and this amazing E2L team who are passionate about empowering our young people.  I look forward to the day, when everyone has an equal chance for a bright and thriving future.

Because they matter!

 Darrick Graham

Essential2life Executive Director

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Community Stakeholder with Operation Hope

Integrity Water - E2L Sponsor/Partner

The Junior League of Atlanta

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Georgia Tech