Impact Group Wows at Oscars, Uplifts at Home

Now Ottoo is enrolled in the theater department at the college where her father is a professor. "I think it would've been much more difficult for me and for her without Impact," said Emily's father, Richard Ottoo. "A lot more difficult."

"Impact has actually helped me build my relationship with my father and tried to make me get close to him cause you always wanna have your parents in your corner," she said.

Performing With Patti LaBelle

The group's biggest performance since the Oscars was an appearance with R&B legend Patti LaBelle at the Hammerstein Ballroom, as part of a fundraiser for legendary producer Nile Rodgers' We Are Family Foundation.

In rehearsals, the members put the final touches on a new song called "Three Dot Dash" (a new sign for peace) they'd written for Rodgers, who has recorded everyone from Madonna to Diana Ross.

The kids were dutifully impressed, but not awed -- they average about 50 performances of their own a year.

On the night of the performance, Ottoo was prepared for her solo and didn't even seem star-struck when R&B heartthrob Eric Benet arrived on the red carpet. "Why didn't you return my call?" she yelled at him. A smiling Benet quipped, "I told you not to call me at 1 a.m."

All the members of Impact were excited and ready to perform, but Guzman was a no-show.

"They called me and they were like, 'Why didn't you come?'," she said days later. "When I'm not there they make me feel special enough, they make me feel important enough to call me. [But] sometimes it gets heavy. And now I know that you sometimes have to put that aside … that was kinda dumb, stupid, because when I perform it's like a release, all my stress, so I don't know why I didn't perform, now that I think about it."

So are Joseph and the other Impact leaders trying to create singing sensations?

"You know what we say at Impact," Joseph said. "If you're at Impact for six months or you're with Impact for two or three years and you go off to college and you become a better singer dancer or actor, that's OK But if you're a mediocre dancer, singer and actor and you become a better person then we've done our job and that's what we're really trying to see.

"The kids wind up doing both. And you see them on stage -- and as tough as I am sometimes … every time they are on stage, whether it's a big place like the Hammerstein Ballroom or if it's street fair, I get choked up, you know. And I start to cry," Joseph said. "Because you see all of that, you see all of their potential just blossoming out."

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