Emily Prokop and Eliana Margherio, students at Marian High School and Cranbrook Kingswood High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, wanted to do more than just collect donations for their fellow students in need. They wanted to help low income teenagers get the little extra boost they may need to meet their goals.
So in 2014, at ages 14 and 15, Emily and Eliana started a nonprofit organization, Trends for Teens, which provides teenagers in need with new and gently used clothing and accessories. But rather than pay, students “purchase” the items with points they earn by completing the goals they have been working towards.
“Trends for Teens is a unique organization in that it teaches teenagers important life lessons while also providing them with essentials they need to develop socially as well as mentally,” says Eliana.
After the success of their first store at International Technology Academy, Emily and Eliana decided to expand the program. Together, they have opened four stores so far in schools and homeless shelters specifically designed for teens to shop in. These stores are stocked with donations from neighboring communities and schools ranging from clothing and jewelry to stuffed animals and basketballs.
Since the start of the foundation, there have been more than 500 shoppers between the four stores, redistributing over $20,000 worth of clothing in the last year alone.
Teens can earn points to “purchase” items by setting and accomplishing their challenging academic, athletic and service–oriented goals. Once a goal is reached, the teen fills out their goal achievement sheet and is awarded points based on the difficulty of the goal and the duration of the time taken to achieve it.
Additionally, teachers are able to reward their students with points for their hard work. Students can earn points through their teachers in a variety of ways that is tailored to each student. One student could earn a point for simply showing up to class on time while another could earn points for bringing his or her grade up to a B from a C.
Emily and Eliana plan to continue their mission to help others by partnering with other nonprofit organizations as well as by opening new stores in more schools and homeless shelters. Trends for Teens doesn’t just provide teens with access to essential items. It empowers them, helping them to realize they have the capacity to change their own lives by accomplishing the goals they set for themselves.
Learn more about Trends for Teens on the website http://www.trendsforteens.org/.