We launched the NEW VICTORY Usher Corps the day the theater opened in 1995 to provide paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers each year. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000 hours of paid employment to over 660 NYC teens from across the city. Find out how young people ages 16-21 can apply to be a part of this award-winning program here!
All season long, we’ll be featuring young people from the Usher Corps in our show programs and here on New Victory Stories. Today, we’re talking to third-year usher Manny Leyva from Bushwick, Brooklyn.
What has been your favorite show at the New Victory?
My favorite show was Ajijack on Turtle Island. It was a fantastic intro to the culture of Indigenous Peoples—something that I didn’t know anything about. My favorite scene had to be when the turtle puppet started rapping—it was hilariously unexpected
What is your dream job and why?
I’d love to be a high school counselor. Kids today aren’t getting proper guidance and many are just ignored. The transition from high school to college or straight into the real world can be very difficult—there just isn’t enough assistance available. My dream is to help others during that transition as much as I can.
Who inspires you and why?
My old Usher Corps mentor, Danny, who graduated from the program last year. No matter how bad his day was, no matter what was on his mind, he was always calm and collected. He had a smile on his face at the end of every workday.
What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite topic in school is philosophy. It makes you think about everything, but it never tries to change your ideals. Plus, my teacher is super chill.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
My favorite memories come from hanging out with friends, whether it’s going to the park, getting some food or gaming together.
What’s your favorite NYC hangout?
Tony’s Pizzeria in Bushwick on the corner of Knickerbocker and Dekalb Avenue is where I’ve made some of my funniest memories and, also, the pizza is the best I’ve ever had.
What’s your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be traveling abroad with my best friend. It doesn’t matter where—as long as they’re with me, I know it’d be the best trip ever.
Are you interested in learning more about our Usher Corps? Find out here!