Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Lyric Edwards
Central High School
There is something unique happening in the Memphis area.
Stocked by donations from local businesses and individual supporters, the 2Unique Boutique is a student-run entrepreneurial venture focused on youth and young adults. Its focus is on students with an interest in developing and fine tuning their skills in customer service, retail and business management while simultaneously generating revenue to support nonprofit operations in their communities.
The boutique’s name represents that “You Too Are Unique.” It has been flipped from a classroom to a storefront boutique. It is part of the 2Unique Community Salvation Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. And it was developed and implemented as a career skills training project in the fall of 2012.
As a participant in the 2Unique Boutique/2Unique CSF “Find Your Design” Career Track & Leadership program, students can learn office and customer service skills, marketing and promotion, store management, cashier and also receive opportunities to model for the 2Unique Boutique website.
The ambiance of the boutique is clean; very well-organized with lots of personality. There are many designer bags, clothes, shoes, accessories, books and toys for children. While this Boutique can give teenagers an opportunity to gain hands on experience through entrepreneurial effort, it could also help many family households in the Whitehaven area who may not be able to afford clothing.
Items sold are gently-used or brand new. In addition, each item has been handpicked and placed on the floor display.
Schools in the Shelby County area are welcomed to donate uniforms that their children may not be able to fit anymore. The boutique will sell the merchandise at a reduced price.
The money raised through this project will help fund the “Find Your Design” programs, which is a program that gives teens the opportunity to develop new skills to find their niche.
The “Find Your Design” [FYD] Career Track and Leadership Program is a training program for personal and professional development along with an entrepreneurship component that offers career advancement, coaching and consultation. The program encourages participants to discover dreams and passions, fine tune their professional leadership skills, share inspirations with others who are seeking an improved career path and make their life’s work meaningful. FYD connect students with real-life practicums, internship placements, college preparation and volunteer work experience to enhance their work skills and increase post-graduation employment rates.
Recent studies show that combining academic rigor with work-based learning and specific guidance or mentoring designed to move students toward post-secondary goals, improves graduation rates, and job opportunities.
“The program has equipped me with outstanding new skills and has given me a clearer direction towards my career path,” said former Kirby High student, Anthony Tatu. He was in the program for a year. “With these skills at the age of 16, I am confident that I am ready for my first encounter in the “employment world”.
“I loved the program! It was informative fun, and an over all great experience,” said Miracle Baker who was in the program for three months. “I’m very thankful to have been a part of the program.”
There is also 2Unique Magazine, which reflects issues and concerns of the socially vibrant, urban, educated, upwardly mobile young professional.
So why is all of this important to Roshunda Buchanan founder of 2Unique CSF/2Unique Boutique? Buchanan said that during her journey in high school there weren’t many mentors within the Memphis City School System that she could really say that helped her understand what she wanted to do in life or what she wanted to become. There were guidance counselors in the school system but they never connected to the students.
Buchanan and her twin sister found themselves thrown on a technical path instead of a university path right when it was time to graduate. No one consulted with them to inform them about particular credits that needed to be taken. Finally, she was able to attend a university as a sophomore only to realize that she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She was taking classes without a major.
Buchanan had to educate herself and do some soul searching until she realized she would not let teens go through what she had endured in school. Her mission was to help youth identify their true existence by connecting people, purpose and programs.
Buchanan is a graduate of Leadership Memphis 2010, has an Associate’s degree in Psychology, and is currently attending the University of Memphis as a senior in the Bachelor of Professional Studies/Nonprofit Development & Administration B.A. program.
To volunteer with the 2Unique Boutique please visit: http://www. findyourdesign.org/volunteers/ You can also view their newsletter by going to: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6eb683e0e2b20d94510364570&id=20c044facc.