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New Era teams up with kids

New Era Cap Company, in an exclusive partnership with four Bronx teenagers, created hats and t-shirts that are now available in stores. The teens worked with the non-profit Sweet Equity Enterprises and New Era to come up with the original, colorful designs.

Since January 2008, the students have been working with peers from around the city in partnership with SEE to fashion their unique creations from scratch. Through this partnership, New Era has guided the SEE students with intensive design, technological, and entrepreneurship training.

Edward Levion Bonner, Jamtex Rodriguez, Raymond Bargallo, and Jenixie Reyes were the Bronx teens whose designs have just come to store shelves.

“New Era is proud to align itself with such a rewarding program for teens like SEE,” said Gerry Matos, senior vice-president of marketing at New Era. “The opportunity to work with these innovative, bright young minds has not only helped to spark a new wave of fashion for New Era, but it will also inspire the youth of the nation to continue to pursue their dreams and realize that anything is possible.”

SEE is a project-based learning program where high school students participate in learning about the fashion business during the school day. Designer and entrepreneur Marc Ecko founded SEE.

“By demystifying the products that they love, SEE students find an entry point that makes learning cool,” Ecko said. “We are empowering young people with skills that they can actually take to the bank and at the same time are showing companies what corporate responsibility can be about.”

One of the Bronx students who participated in the challenging but rewarding experience created a t-shirt and cap combo based around the media portrayals of fast food as mischievous.

“For my New Era project I was interested in how the media always portrays fast food as a bad thing to eat,” said Jenixie Reyes. “So I decided to design my project around the idea of an evil cheeseburger. While we were designing our projects we critiqued each other and people like Mark Ecko told us what they thought.”

Reyes said that she really liked New Era products before the SEE project, and was excited to learn that they have a broad product line for both men and women. She found both SEE and New Era very supportive.

“The people at SEE introduced us to the tools necessary to make our own designs,” Reyes said. “New Era was always an e-mail or a visit away.”

Reyes, 17, will be attending Babson College on a full scholarship with money from the Posse Foundation.

The students’ products are marketed by Finish Line. Caps sell for about $34, and t-shirts prices range from $28 to $30. For more information about the SEE program caps and t-shirts, visit www.neweracap.com.

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