Jeff Staple of Staple Design Visits STOKED

Most adults would love the opportunity to mentor youth, but between life and work, it's often difficult to accomplish. At STOKED believe that if you have the desire and passion for giving back, there should be an outlet to do it. That’s why a few years ago, we started a new component to our mentoring program called Professional Mentoring. It is where accomplished and successful professionals motivate and inspire our students by talking about their career in our afterschool program. It only takes an hour. You see, if students never get to meet inspiring speakers and professionals, they'll never know why they’re working so hard at school. A lot of programs and even school make students work in a silho. Even teachers and administrators tell us that there’s no way to students to know what the big picture lies ahead from them outside of the classroom. That’s why we were super stoked when influential designer and entrepreneur Jeff Staple came by one of our schools in Bushwick Brooklyn.

Jeff started his career back in 1997 when he launched his t-shirt line and grew it to into a global brand as the founder of Staple Design, Reed Space, and Staple Pigeon. He’s been fortunate enough to work with brands such as Nike, Sony, Microsoft and Timberland. He was invited by our Coach Harmeet to speak.

When Jeff showed up to the STOKED room at the school, all the students introduced themselves via F.I.E.S — Firm Handshake, Introduce Yourself, Eye contact, and Smile. After all the introductions, they kicked off the professional mentoring session with a STOKED Circle. The STOKED Circle sets the tone for the session by having everyone answer a question. The question for this day was “Who is your idol?” As students went around, it gave Jeff the sense of everyone, their goals, and aspirations. It adds a human element and a bit of insight into the personality of the student so that the mentor can tailor their presentation when they talk.

Jeff spoke for about 30 minutes — he played a video, spoke about his early career, how he got his start, and his education. Being an entrepreneur, Jeff, got his start by using his college facilities to silkscreen t-shirts and sell them in retail stores. He dropped out of NYU and attended Parsons where he honed his design skills. Students got an insight and personal stories from one of the most well respected professionals in their field.

By participating in STOKED, students get to form connections with people like Jeff and hear stories that they can relate to. They hear about the struggles, the challenges, as well as the successes, and joys of someone that they could look up to.

We’re honored that Jeff spent time with STOKED at our school. Our plan is to create many more opportunities for young people to connect with inspiring individuals.