Two high school students will open a clothing store March 5 to provide new and gently used attire for students in low-income communities through the International Technology Academy, a school that focuses on project-based learning for students grades six through 12 in Pontiac.
The shop is part of the nonprofit Trends for Teens program, founded by Eliana Margherio, a sophomore at Marian High School, and Emily Prokop, a freshman at Cranbrook Kingswood. Students can shop at the store using “Trends Cash,” which can be earned by achieving academic goals, such as actively participating in class to maintaining a B-average over the course of a semester.
“The goal setting aspect of Trends for Teens is what really sets us apart from other charities,” says Margherio, who co-founded the program with Prokop. “It is a great learning experience for both the students we are helping, as well as ourselves. The opportunity to be able to encourage kids my own age to set and accomplish goals for themselves is amazing and highly rewarding.”
A 16-person advisory board will lead the organization, which includes students from the academy as well as other schools across southeast Michigan
“We are all very excited to have the opportunity to meet and get to know teenagers that we would have otherwise never met before,” Prokop says. “I think I speak for the whole (International Technology Academy) Trends for Teens advisory board when I say that I believe the friendships we will make from this project will be unforgettable.”
Looking ahead, Margherio and Prokop say they hope to open similar stores across the region.