The Nouveau Bar & Grill in south Atlanta seems to always be cooking up a lot more than delightful delectables, with its menu of community-based programs popping off at regular intervals.

The College Park eatery was the site for the commencement of a comprehensive program to help nurture and empower the next generation of geniuses.

Adullam Ministries launched the inaugural Legacy Birthright Program, an entrepreneurial-designed series curated for teenagers.

Through a specialized 10-month program that involves mentorships, internships, and workshops, the vetted teens will be inoculated with sufficient intangibles to understand how to act as innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs of the future.

The teens were ceremoniously marched into the dining area of Nouveau by name during the program to kick off the Birthright Program where the students, parents, and city officials learned the particulars of a nearly yearlong, holistic session that the students will undertake.

“The purpose of our Birthright Program is is to work with young people who are teenagers, and to help them with their identity. A lot of our young people, a lot of us who are not so young people are dealing with an identity crisis,” said Jamelle McKenzie, the CEO of Adullam Ministries in College Park, which created the Legacy Birthright Program. “And we need to know who we are. And the one thing that we want, every single one of our birthright students to know is that you are an asset. You’re not just a resource to be used, but you are an asset.

“Everywhere you go, you are the cream; you rise to the top. And that’s the way God birthed us. Every single one of us when we were born, we were born for greatness,” McKenzie added as passion dripped from every word.

During the 10 months, which are broken into three 12-week sessions or “Trimesters,” the teen students will go through workshops via the Agile | Ecosystems curriculum, receive professional coaching, enter into nine-week paid internships at businesses in the city and receive professional clothing.

Multiple College Park city officials were on hand to offer encouragement, inspiration, and resources to help this burgeoning program blossom from its infancy.

“Just dream big. You know, whenever you’re doing like, if you dream about it, it can happen,” said Ward 2 Councilman Derrick Taylor.

“I am the possibility of what you can be. You can be me, you can be better than me. But it all starts here. So this is the first step into your greatness,” added City Manager Mercedes Miller.

Ebony Austin, who owns Nouveau and facilitated the Adullam Ministries’ Legacy Birthright Program event, had the teen students look into the provided mirrors to articulate what they see from their reflections. The point was to find out where the students are with themselves so the program officials know where to start.

Austin’s devotion to the community is part of her modus operandi. In November 2020, her restaurant donated more than 500 turkeys to families for Thanksgiving and then turned around and gifted 50 families in need after hosting a toy drive in December 2020.

Therefore, Austin’s collaboration with McZenzie’s Adullam Ministries for the Legacy Birthright Program to accelerate these teens’ professional development seemed natural.

“We’re living in a day and age where entrepreneurship is one of the biggest deals, right? You see so many black people that own their own Black people and are very, very successful,” Austin told the students regarding the business landscape of metro Atlanta and other metropolises.

She added, “I want you guys to know that it is possible. I never ever, ever believe it’s impossible. You’re so close. … We made it so our goal is to help you guys get to that next level so that you guys can maybe we’re 100 percent committed.”

College Park city officials and the organizers of the Legacy Birthright Program along with student participants. (Terry Shropshire / The Atlanta Voice)

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