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Crestwood High student pledges to be BRAVE: 16-year-old turns class project into merchandise brand to help others stand against violence

BY SHELBIE GOULDING shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 1/14/20

What started out as a class project at Crestwood High School soon became a reality for 16-year-old Derrick Prince, who made it a personal goal to challenge his peers and those seeking guidance to be BRAVE: Be Resilient Against Visual …

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Crestwood High student pledges to be BRAVE: 16-year-old turns class project into merchandise brand to help others stand against violence

Posted

What started out as a class project at Crestwood High School soon became a reality for 16-year-old Derrick Prince, who made it a personal goal to challenge his peers and those seeking guidance to be BRAVE: Be Resilient Against Visual Enemies.

"The truth is life is tough, and things don't always work out like a fairy tale, but we should remember to be BRAVE and go on with our lives."

In an entrepreneurship class, Prince came up with this mission and created a merchandise brand to help others stand up against violence and stay clear of bad situations.

"I wanted to help others get out of bad situations like I did," Prince said. "I could have gotten arrested, but I got lucky, so I wanted to help others not necessarily change but do better."

Not too long ago, Prince said he hung out with the wrong crowd and got into some trouble. The outcome could have led down a different path, but he was given a second chance to make changes in his life.

When an entrepreneurship class challenged Prince to create his own business in August 2019, he knew this was that second-chance opportunity.

"It's very rare, especially with teenagers, to get into positive things. I've never seen him get so excited about a class," said Yolanda Washington, Prince's mother.

With the support from his mother and friends, Prince was able to physically create a brand called BRAVE, a clothing and accessories brand meant to inspire others to stand against violence.

The project was meant to only be a mere idea and get a sense of what it means to be an entrepreneur, but Prince took the project even further and began selling merchandise of his own right at home.

"As long as he's interested in it, I'm interested in it," Washington said. "He's encouraging others to wear the brand and live it."

Since kick starting BRAVE, Prince has grown as a leader and acts with a light shining on him. He understands that when he or his customers wear the brand, they're reflecting its purpose: to be BRAVE.

Recently, Prince held a launch party to introduce his brand to the community and help others learn to be BRAVE. He made about 40 sales in merchandise and got students to sign a petition, pledging to be BRAVE, as a result.

"I think the experience itself is eye opening for him," Washington said. "He's taking it more seriously."

Prince plans to continue standing against violence with his brand, and as it grows, he hopes to take his sales and start a campaign to help others pledge to be BRAVE, just like he did.

The BRAVE website is not officially running, but it is set to launch on Feb. 15. To support Prince and his pledge to be BRAVE, visit brave-branded.myshopify.com.