Charlotte Students Unveil Original Boutiques at Belk, Inc.

Eastway Middle School students in Charlotte, NC, spent one afternoon each week this fall participating in their own version of the hit show “Project Runway,” learning what it takes to discover and sell today’s hottest fashion designs. After 10 weeks of hard work it was time to show Charlotte what the students had learned by displaying their very own boutiques. Their visual displays were unveiled at the Belk Corporate office on Thursday, December 15th, 2011, to a crowd of Belk employees. Brooke Stephens, an assistant buyer for Belk, led the apprenticeship that took place every Thursday afternoon. Halfway through the semester the students had the opportunity to visit the Belk SouthPark store and were treated to a tour from store manager, Randy Dell. In addition, students had the opportunity to select the latest fashion trends but were challenged to remain within a specific budget. Students posed in their chosen outfits in front of the holiday display at the SouthPark store, and to wrap up the tour that day, Belk generously donated gift bags filled with holiday goodies, ties for the young men, and Clinique make up samples for the young ladies.

In addition to the engaging field trip to the store, Brooke surprised the students with the opportunity to showcase their learning at the Belk Corporate offices on December 15th, 2011. The students walked through the office doors dressed to impress in business attire. They were armed with store logos, sample budgets and other boutique details - products of their semester-long work. Belk bystanders were blown away, and the “Lil' Miss Swaggar” boutique was definitely a crowd favorite. Students had the opportunity to network with a number of Belk employees including Johanna Anderson, Belk Foundation Director.

Citizen Schools is fortunate to have the support from a business like Belk and its employees who work side by side with our staff to ensure all students are prepared for high school, college and future careers.

If this story has inspired you to get involved please consider volunteering in 2012, or attending our 6 Degrees of Charlotte event on February 2nd at the Mint Museum in Uptown Charlotte. For more information on volunteering visit:, and for more information on our 6 Degrees of Charlotte event visit:

About the Belk Foundation

The Belk Foundation is a private, family foundation founded in 1928. Over the past 10 years, it has awarded grants totaling more than $33 million to non-profit organizations and causes benefiting communities where Belk associates live and work. The mission of The Belk Foundation is to invest in schools and organizations that work aggressively to ensure all students graduate from high school and continue on an intentional path toward college, career and life. For more information about The Belk Foundation, contact: Johanna Anderson, 704-426-8322 or In May 2009, The Belk Foundation awarded Citizen Schools North Carolina $150,000 in support of its Apprenticeship and 8th Grade Academy programs.

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a leading national education initiative that uniquely mobilizes thousands of adult volunteers to help improve student achievement and bridge the achievement gap by teaching skill-building apprenticeships after school. At 37 middle schools in seven states across the country, Citizen Schools programs blend these real-world learning projects with rigorous academic and leadership development activities, preparing low-income students for success in high school, college, the workforce, and civic life.

The Citizen Schools program launched in 2006 and currently serves approximately 400 students in North Carolina and engages over 200 volunteers. Learn more about Citizen Schools’ programs and results at