Los Angeles, CA – Post by: J. L. Adams, DeSean Jackson Foundation

Leila Steinberg

AIM 4 The Heart, a community-based, initiative, founded by the phenomenal, social justice advocate and music industry icon, Ms. Leila Steinberg, is the recipient of the prestigious NFL Foundation Players’ Community Service Match grant from NFL All ProDeSean Jackson, of the Las Vegas Raiders, whose professional career includes the Philadelphia EaglesTampa Bay BuccaneersWashington Football Team and Los Angeles Rams.

DeSean and his mother, Gayle Jackson, Co-Founders, of the DeSean Jackson Foundation, state that they are honored and privileged to have this opportunity to use DeSean’s platform and the prestigious NFL and NFL Foundation platform to showcase the magnitude of the impact that Leila Steinberg has made in the areas of social justice, youth development, cultural enrichment and prison reform.

Gayle Jackson states that Leila Steinberg launched her “No More Tears” program at San Quentin, over 25 years, and engaged the NFL and some of its players in the programming within the prison over the years. Gayle recalls the many visits that DeSean made to the prisons with Leila over the years, no media or cameras, just dialogue, mutual understanding and respect. Gayle also recalls that in October 2013, while DeSean was a Philadelphia Eagle, the Boys Latin School School of Philadelphia reach out to my son in regards to the trauma the students were experiencing due to several deaths of students due to violence. DeSean contacted Ms. Steinberg. Leila immediately developed a three-day symposium on healing titled “Make Your Dream”; and, traveled to Philly to facilitate the program for the entire student population school administrators and parents. Ms. Steinberg is well-respected and highly-regard in all of her personal and professional endeavors.


Together, we are transforming hearts and minds utilizing the arts to develop emotional literacy!

HeART Sessions are not open mics; they are topic based workshops that implement the HeART Education curriculum developed by Leila Steinberg.  The Arts (language, performing and visual) are utilized as the primary means to develop emotional literacy. Emotional Literacy is defined as the the ability to understand emotions in self and others, the ability to empathize with the emotions, and the ability to express emotions productively.  AIM for the heART as an organization believes the by-product of emotional literacy and development improves the condition of one’s life–moving it from pain to promise, and from challenges to possibilities.  

All Artist Facilitators working under AIM for the heART have completed our heArt Education training. HeART Sessions are workshops that are easily adaptable to a variety of spaces including community centers, schools, juvenile halls, prisons, group homes, and recovery centers.  Hybrid workshops are also able to adapt to individual concerns of the facility into workshops through topics.

Music is Medicine Assemblies

We provide 60-90 minute assemblies for schools, juvenile halls, youth facilities and special events.  Assemblies are driven by an emotional literacy curriculum called heArt Education that acknowledges a number of the factors that impact an individual’s emotional health.  Each assembly engages youth participants through the use of keynote speakers and performing artists that are part of or affiliated with our organization that have been empowered to overcome adversity, gangs, violence, poverty, and pain through the use of their artistry.  Our assemblies are an introduction to the work we do as an organization and the heART Education curriculum and are easily adapted to both small and large group settings, schools, juvenile halls, youth facilities, conferences, and special events.

During the pandemic, our interactive Music is Medicine Assemblies are being offered digitally.



Community Collaboration & Showcase Performances

AIM 4 the HEART has collaborated in special events for Polytechnic High School’s PAAL Campus, Pico Youth & Family Center, Change the Tune, City of Long Beach, California African American Museum, USC, Long Beach Convention Center, Hopics Trauma Center, KPFK, KPRP and Homeland Cultural Center.

More About Leila Steinberg

Leila Steinberg (born December 18, 1961) is an American social justice advocate, entrepreneur, music manager, educator, writer, poet, and founder of AIM4TheHeART, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth find their voice using an emotional literacy curriculum and writing workshops. Leila is best known as the artist mentor and first manager for superstar rapper Tupac Shakur. They met when Tupac was a student in her writing workshop, The Microphone Sessions, in the Oakland Bay area. Today Leila manages the rapper Earl Sweatshirt, formerly of Odd Future.

In the 2017 Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me, Leila was played by actress Lauren Cohan. [NFL All Pro, DeSean Jackson was a major investor and Producer, of All Eyez On Me.]

Steinberg was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was an activist of Mexican-Turkish descent, and her father was a criminal defense lawyer of Polish Jewish descent.

During the late 1980s, Steinberg performed as a backup dancer and singer, touring with musicians O.J. Ekemode & The Nigerian Allstars. She also shared the stage with SantanaBo DiddleyThe Neville BrothersThe SpinnersBurning Spear and Jimmy Cliff. As a veteran music industry executive, she served as a marketer with Atlantic RecordsSonyDef JamTommy BoyInterscope, and Relativity.

While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Steinberg held poetry classes in Oakland. Among her students was young Tupac Shakur. After he came to her poetry class in spring 1989, they hit it off. For a time he lived with her and her family, and read and wrote under her encouragement. She served as a mentor and manager until he needed more professional help. He signed with Atron Gregory in 1989.

Steinberg and Shakur further developed what they called The Microphone Sessions (TMS), a writing workshop that develops the spoken word, poetry, musical, hip-hop, pop and dance, jazz, rock n’ roll singing, and dramatic performances. Weekly gatherings are held worldwide, led by Steinberg-trained artist-educators.

Steinberg co-teaches a class on Race and the Law at University of Southern California Law School with the distinguished Professor Jody Armour. For more than 25 years, Leila has also taught her class to inmates at San Quentin, through the No More Tears program. One of her students, Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll, has become known as the “Oracle of San Quentin” because of his success in stock picks.

More About the NFL Foundation Players’ Community Match Grant Program

This grant is designed to provide nonprofit organizations with funding of up to $5,000 on behalf of a current or former NFL player who has donated financially to a nonprofit organization doing work to better the community . This grant allows NFL players and Legends to help support broad community efforts through the work of nonprofit organizations. Areas of support include, but are not limited to, Disease Prevention and Awareness, Mental Health, Youth Health & Fitness, Military Appreciation, Disaster Relief, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, Character Education, Anti-Bullying, Animal Welfare, etc. In order to be eligible for match funding (1:1 match must be provided by the current or former NFL player applicant).