How We Started
Trends for Teens is a Michigan nonprofit organization established by teens, for teens.
Founded in 2014 by Eliana Margherio and Emily Prokop, Trends for Teens is a program that provides teenagers in homeless and low-income situations with new and like new clothing and accessories. Trends for Teens provides a unique outlook on "charity". We open stores filled with donations in schools and homeless shelters for teens to shop in. In order for a teenager to shop, however, he or she must first set and achieve a goal. This incentive based program teaches the importance of persistence in order to obtain a want or need.
We believe every teenager has the potential to do something great, and it is our goal to make sure he or she understands that individual potential and achievement of goals can help him or her reach his or her full potential.
Who We Are Now
Since the conception of Trends for Teens we are proud to have grown into 6 different locations helping hundreds of teens. Founders, Eliana Margherio (Currently at Wharton Business School) and Emily Prokop (currently at Ross Business School) passed the reins to their brothers Raymond Margherio and Drew Prokop. Ray and Drew took over the operations of Trends for Teens in 2018 and paved a new path leading Trends into Detroit. We have successfully partnered with 2 different schools in Detroit and are helping not only teens but also elementary children. Trends for Teens is evolving with the needs in Detroit. Our goal moving forward is to implement the mission of Trends for Teens into as many schools we can reach in the city of Detroit.
What We've Accomplished
Trends for Teens currently has seven store locations up and running, and is continuing expansion. Over four years we have received over $50,000 worth of monetary and clothing donations and have had over 600 shoppers between the five stores.
We have also been featured in many news articles and have been awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award
How Trends for Teens Works
Goal setting is a critical component of Trends for Teens. Through our “shopper’s incentive program,” teens who set and successfully achieve challenging but reachable goals are rewarded. A counselor or advisor at the location guides the student to ensure the goals are aspirational enough, but also achievable. Goals are customized and specific to each teen based on strengths and opportunities for growth.
Goals are based on Trends for Teens “5 A” approach:
Acts of Kindness
Actively Participating – within school, community, family, church, etc.
Once a goal is reached, the teenager fills out a sheet with the goal on one side and the description of the achievement on the other. Then, a teacher, coach, or advisor signs off on the goal, and the teen is awarded points based on the difficulty of the goal and the duration of time taken to achieve it. The teenager can then go to the Trends for Teens store and shop with their points.
In addition to receiving points by achieving goals, students can earn bonus points. Bonus points are awarded by teachers, faculty, or advisors for "random acts of character and kindness". This is when a teenager is caught doing an unusual act of kindness that benefits the community in some way. These points can also be used to shop at the store.
Each location has a physical store on site. The shops are usually small rooms or unused classrooms that are converted to a store. The presence of the store on site provides a tangible incentive and reminder to encourage the students to set and achieve their goals.
Each store is stocked with donations from neighboring communities that include clothing, shoes, jackets, hats, scarves, boots, jewelry, and other accessories.
The teenagers can make "Wish Lists" or suggest items they would like to have in the store. The manager will then relay the wish lists to Trends for Teens, and the Trends for Teens Board will have an item-specific collection for those wishes.
Each store is run by a manager - either a teenager whose goal is to work in the store or a parent volunteer. The manager keeps the store neat, acts as the cashier checking students out and taking their goal sheets, and is the communicator between the Trends for Teens board and the individual store.
Grade ambassadors act as correspondents between the store manager and the students of the school. The grade ambassador's job is to encourage his or her peers to set their goals and shop in the store. This aspect also teaches the ambassadors responsibility and communication skills.
Benefits of Trends for Teens
Bringing Teens Together.
Teens helping teens. Bringing teenagers from two different communities together to foster friendship and understanding. Trends for Teens is, essentially, teenagers working together to reach a common goal - creating the “store.” Each store is created by the Trends for Teens board of eight high school students along with teenagers from the location of the new store. Through working with each other, both groups of teenagers learn valuable lessons from the other. Every individual has something to attribute to his or her community, but he or she sometimes is not given the opportunity to do so. Trends for Teens is here to encourage students from different communities and backgrounds to work together and make a difference. There is a charitable aspect of Trends for Teens, but students from both sides truly benefit - learning to accept those who may be different from them and realizing that socioeconomic standings hold no barring against a person's abilities and work ethic.
Goal Setting and Learning.
The ability to set and achieve goals is a key aspect of a successful life. It is a critical part of growing not only as a student, but as a person, too. Some communities, however, do not emphasize the importance of this to teenagers. Trends for Teens's objective is to demonstrate the idea of goal setting to these teenagers in a safe and supervised environment so that it may then be executed on a larger scale with the rewards being college acceptance and eventual employment.
Teenagers thrive off of confidence and comfort. These feelings are largely attributed to the clothing they wear and the way they are able to present themselves. For teenagers who don't necessarily have the means to go out and buy the outfits they want to wear, feeling as if they fit in can be difficult. Trends for Teens's hope is that providing new and like new clothing and accessories to these teenagers will help with self-esteem and self-confidence. However, teenagers in these situations do not want "hand outs" or to be someones "charity case". That is where the goal-setting comes in. This way, the teenagers know that they worked for and deserve the things they were able to purchase from our stores.
Where We’re Going
With six stores now successfully open, Trends for Teens will continue expanding within the metro-Detroit and Detroit area.