By Terrence Tomlin and Eugene McIntosh
Sports By #TheBIGS
CHICAGO — Chicago youth face a constant battle to defy the odds on their path to greatness. At every turn, they often face new challenges. Whether it be trying to allude a bogus reputation of being prone to violence or having to jump through loops and obstacles just to receive the most basic resources, the youth in this city are far too often counted out before ever getting the chance to reach their full potential.
Every child, no matter their background, deserves a platform to reach their dreams and “fly.” Which is why since 2015, Jordan Brand along with Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy have been giving Chicago youth their “wings.”
As part of Jordan Brand’s “WINGS” initiative, their community action program, Little Black Pearl offers a 16-week experience that gives participants the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the fashion design industry. With classes taking place at Jordan Brand’s flagship Chicago store at 32 South State Street, the Jordan Design Studio teaches students the fundamentals of design, marketing, merchandising, and making a business pitch. Throughout the program, students go through the process of designing a Jordan brand t-shirt, culminating in a winning t-shirt design being chosen and featured in the State Street store.
With their 3rd session of participants just wrapping up their 16-week experience, the winning t-shirt design, created by a handful of LBPA students, was announced and featured in limited numbers within the Jordan Brand Chicago flagship store, Station 23. The winning t-shirt design was an ode to the city, with “Chicago” being spelled out using some of the most notable attractions around the town, including the Willis Tower and famous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. “We worked really hard on this design and I’m very proud of my team that we were able to come together and make something so amazing come to life,” said Kamara Grayson, member of the winning t-shirt design team.
In addition to having their winning t-shirt design sold in Jordan’s flagship Chicago store, LBPA students are granted access to apply for the Jordan Wings scholarship. To date, 14 LBPA students have received Jordan Wings scholarships with nearly 200 students receiving the Wings scholarships nationwide since 2015.
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