See how Youth Utilizing Power and Praise advocates for youth empowerment and self-esteem for Bay Area young people, through performing arts, fine arts, sports, mentorship, and entrepreneurship opportunities! 

 Agency Spotlight YUPPorg

At Family Giving Tree, we will spend Black History Month spotlighting some amazing Black/African American-led organizations that we work with throughout the year. We hope you enjoy getting to know a few of our partner agencies better and celebrating their leadership along with us!

Empowering and Equipping a Community Through the Arts

Shelene Huey-Booker is a local Black organizational leader we all know and love. Shelene and her husband Theo originated and lead Youth Utilizing Power and Praise Organization, a non-profit that Family Giving Tree has worked with for over a decade during both Back-to-School and Holiday seasons. Theo and Shelene started this non-profit because they, as young artists, were searching for a platform to share and grow their love for performing arts beyond their cultural and religious affiliations. They have dedicated their lives to reaching youth and adolescents who suffer from loneliness, are in search of their own identity, and in search of a sense of belonging.

Youth Utilizing Power and Praise Organization’s mission is to develop cross-cultural networks, that enhance the whole being through performing arts, fine arts public speaking, and sports.

Their vision is to build youth empowerment and self-esteem by providing access to supportive activities and services through performing arts, fine arts, sports, mentorship, and entrepreneurship. 

Their values are to:

  1. Provide Safe Haven for Youth

  2. Promote excellence in instruction, performance and practice.

  3. Challenge and nurture students of all ages and ability levels.

  4. Encouraging creativity.

  5. Students will use only respectful, appropriate, inclusive, and supportive language when addressing fellow students, instructors, staff, and volunteers.

  6. Provide Family Environment

Learn more about Youth Utilizing Power and Praise Organization from their Executive Director herself, Shelene Huey-Booker. 


You can listen to a version of the hymn quoted by Shelene in the interview, sung by Billy Eckstine in 1957 - If I Can Help Somebody



Two months before Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, he gave his last sermon called, “The Drum Major Instinct.” In it, he imagined his own funeral and said he wanted to be remembered for serving others, not for his fame or his many accomplishments. He ended the sermon by quoting from If I Can Help Somebody.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody with a word or a song.

If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong,

Then my living will not be in vain.


If I can do my duty, as a good man ought,

If I can bring back beauty, to a world up wrought,

If I can spread love's message, as the Master taught,

Then my living shall not be in vain.


Words to live by ❤️ Thank you to all the organizations we featured during Black History Month. We salute you and your efforts to uplift our community and are honored to work alongside you!