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As schools across Atlanta officially open their classrooms for the start of the 2018-19 academic year, there are high hopes for progress in the level of education received by the city’s students. However, one academy is looking to raise the bar by providing urban youth with a unique experience and unconventional style of teaching that involves education and … sneakers. Enter Sneakerhead Youth Empowerment Center.

Led and founded by educator, entrepreneur and life coach Ebony Ormond-Ham, Sneakerhead consists of a STEAM curriculum — a 7-model educational and entrepreneurial-based curriculum that collaborates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math with intentional connections between standards, assessments and lessons built solely around sneaker and fashion design and implementation. Among the various components are 3D Modeling, Concept Creation, Color and Material Design, Foot Motion and Prototyping, among other things.

The brilliance in infusing fashion and sneakers to keep them engaged and attentive during the learning process is a no brainer.

“Science is further proving that youthful inner creativity is better helping to unlock future inventions and discoveries, even in medical fields,” Ormond-Ham says. “The circuitry of the brain along with the intuitive nature of this generation to act fast, think witty, and mentally recreate will advance technology further than the last three decades in an unimaginable timespan.”

Ormond-Ham understands this reality due to her background as an alternative learning educator and also as the owner of three mental health clinics across metro Atlanta. She has seen first-hand the results that this style of instruction has produced. In an effort to make her academy a potent, household name renowned for producing young scholars and entrepreneurs, Ormond-Ham has been extremely diligent in establishing relations both local and nationally with professionals and corporations.

Sneakerhead currently boasts partnerships and collaborations with various CEOs, design engineers, educators, mental health professionals and staff at Georgia Tech University. It also has the support of SneakerCon reps and companies like Nike and Adidas. Needless to say, working with basketball organizations is a wise decision, thus leading to work with the Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA team the Atlanta Dream. In fact, as a result of the Dream partnership, Sneakerhead students have the amazing opportunity to present their sneaker designs during halftime at every home game.

“My ultimate goal is to awaken educational creativity in our youth that will advance education towards a focus of greater active partnerships and better prepare our youth as lifelong learners, entrepreneurs, and global as opposed to local citizens.”  

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