HomeWorks Trenton Wins #FutureofLearningChallenge And Will Have Their Student-Designed Sneaker Produced This Spring
Teach For America’s Reinvention Lab and Shoe Designer NinetyNine Products National Competition Challenged Students From Across the Country to Design the Future of Learning Using a Sneaker As Their Canvas
March 1, 2022
NEW YORK, March 1, 2022 — A team of students, educators, and staff from HomeWorks Trenton, a non-profit operating a free, after-school residential program for marginalized high school girls, has been announced as the winner of the #FutureOfLearningChallenge and will have their sneaker design produced this spring by NinetyNine Products. This sneaker represents HomeWorks Trenton’s vision for what the future of learning holds.
“We wanted our design to speak to the inclusivity, diversity, and belonging that will be vital to make the future of learning a bright one,” shared Erica Hundley, House Director of HomeWorks Trenton. “We know that learning can only occur once students have been given the opportunity to explore and reclaim power over their cultures, identities, and experiences, and this competition provided us with a unique opportunity to share our vision for the future.”
The #FutureOfLearningChallenge was created by the Reinvention Lab at Teach For America, a space for examining the next radical leaps in the future of learning, and NinetyNine Products, an innovative, equity-focused sneaker design company. Fourteen education organizations from across the country competed in the challenge. With students as their lead architects, teams were tasked with communicating what the future of learning might look like, using a sneaker as their canvas. The student designers and educational organizations involved received storytelling coaching and guidance, and HomeWorks Trenton was one of four finalists that had the opportunity to pitch their designs to a panel of judges before the winner was selected.
“The education system we have now, by and large, is an industrial education model, made for the 19th century, superimposed on the 21st. It needed a makeover long before the disruption of the pandemic,” said Sunanna Chand, Teach For America’s Vice President of Systems Reinvention. “We wanted to spark conversations about what the future of learning might look like by giving students a chance to tell a new story, in a new way, about how we might radically transform education as we know it.”
NinetyNine Products will produce 1,200 sneakers designed by HomeWorks Trenton this spring and 600 of these shoes will be distributed for free by the Reinvention Lab.
“When I was in high school, I would sketch sneakers non-stop. I was fortunate enough to have teachers in my life that encouraged me to turn that interest into a passion, that passion into a career,” said Jeff Henderson, Founder and CEO of NinetyNine Products. “I started NinetyNine Products to celebrate the communities and folks that drive culture, style, and creativity. That means more than just sneakerheads in New York or designers in Oregon. It means teachers in Ohio and students in New Jersey. We’re proud to work with the Reinvention Lab and the people that are changing education - inside and outside of the classroom. And we are looking forward to doing it again next year.”
To learn more about the #FutureOfLearningChallenge and access visual assets, click here.
About the Reinvention Lab
The Reinvention Lab powers innovation at Teach For America and fuels the future of learning, pursuing systemic change at the intersection of equity and innovation. It is an exploratory space within a larger organization that accelerates those leading learning reinvention at the intersection of equity and innovation (no matter their affiliation to Teach For America); activates Teach For America staff and alumni towards learning reinvention, and incubates pilots with the potential to transform how Teach For America operates.
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of 66,000 alumni and corps members working in more than 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About NinetyNine Products
NinetyNine Products is a global Harlem brand focused on supporting the communities that drive culture and style.
About HomeWorks Trenton
HomeWorks Trenton is a non-profit operating a free, after-school residential program for marginalized high school girls in Trenton, NJ that provides academic and social-emotional enrichment activities to supplement public schools and build community leaders. HomeWorks inspires and equips young women to achieve their potential and positively transform the world around them by providing a supportive and educational residential environment. For more information, visit www.homeworkstrenton.org
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