essential stories

Stasheia Durham

Fifteen Alum | Savannah State University

"Through high school, the FIFTEEN leadership program helped me stay focused.  I learned so much about problem solving, leadership, and community service."

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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.  


 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

Every day, your support makes stories like Ar'mon’s possible. Would you be willing to make a year-end donation to help us meet our goal so that 35 more at-risk students can gain the future we all deserve?

"Fifteen" Program Fall Update"

Topics that we are covering in our Saturday sessions this week:

"Attitude of Service" Serving others is a way to build our communities and improve our nation. Achieving our vision of a better community and world starts with us.

"Establishing My Brand" The power of branding is all around us. Whether we realize it or not, every choice we make builds our personal brand.

"Managing Social Media" Just like a footprint on the beach, your social footprint follows you wherever you go, consider carefully before posting!

Graduation  Celebration

"Fifteen" Program's

Senior Class of 2017
Annual Graduation Ceremony
Saturday, May 20, 2017
reception to follow Georgia Tech
Klaus Building, Auditorium 1443

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

read more... 




Community Stakeholder with Operation Hope

Integrity Water - E2L Sponsor/Partner

The Junior League of Atlanta

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Georgia Tech