Jordan WINGS Comes To Europe
As Jordan Brand brings the WINGS program to Europe, we sat down with the first three partner organizations to find out how they are working to help underserved youth in Paris.
Mohamed, Nadine and Diane know how to reach young people. Working in education, fashion and art, each of them helms a Paris-based non-profit, rooted in diversity, that focuses on helping students from all backgrounds achieve their potential. Prométhée Education, Casa93 and Le Bal are the latest organizations to join the Jordan WINGS community impact program, and they’re also the first European partners to come onboard. Together, WINGS and these organizations will continue to provide mentorship and education to young people, enabling them to define and achieve goals on their own terms.
The Jordan family in Paris is already strong, thanks to the city’s love of basketball and the brand’s continued partnerships with the French Federation of Basketball, Quai54 and Paris Saint-Germain. Yet despite the city’s rich culture, social and educational barriers prevent youth in some communities from accessing opportunities to succeed. Jordan WINGS is working to change that, by leveling the playing field, as it has with over 30 different partners in North America and China, so far.
With the goal of helping to level the playing field in Paris through higher education and fostering a more diverse workplace of the future, Jordan WINGS has hit the ground running with these first three partner organizations. Learn more about these partners and the debut of Jordan WINGS in Europe, below.
Growing up as a second-generation immigrant in a difficult suburb of Paris gave Mohamed Slim the kind of drive that has helped him change lives. “Materially, it was a difficult start to life, but one that brought me a strong sense of fight, determination and solidarity with others,” he says. A home environment full of positivity gave him the sure footing that he now aims to replicate for others.
Today, Mohamed leads Prométhée Education, an organization that supports young people, without prejudice, to define and achieve their goals through coaching and soft skills development. “Equal opportunity in France is something we’re still fighting for,” he says, “I’m extremely proud to be enabling others to do what I had to do differently.”
The immersive program spans school orientation, exam support, day-to-day expression and more, in order to eliminate potentially discriminatory factors that could hold students back. It shows them the available opportunities and inspires the confidence and skills to succeed.
“I would like all the young people we help through the Jordan WINGS partnership to see the Jumpman when they close their eyes,” he finishes. “MJ illustrates everything that makes life great: bouncing back when we fail, the impulse to go further and the importance of the values passed on through education.”
Atelier du projet Agora at Collège Anne Frank de Roubaix in 2018 with artist Ludivine Sibelle (Photo by: Marianne Baisnée)
“We live in a visual world,” says Diane Dufour, co-director of Le Bal, “so it’s important to learn the reading of images, in the same way we learn the reading of words.” Empowering young people to decode an often confusing world, through the pictures they see every day, is the main objective of La Fabrique du Regard, Le Bal’s youth outreach program. It’s designed to help kids develop the skills to analyze what an image really means and to separate fake from real. That includes navigating and understanding everything from art and media to advertising and online content.
Housed in a former ballroom in north Paris, Le Bal was set up in 2010 as a space dedicated to documentary images in photography, cinema, video and digital art. It’s a cultural island in a neighborhood not known for its art museums, surrounded by areas that have experienced economic hardship. Using the work of artists who appear at Le Bal, La Fabrique du Regard began going into local schools to provide students with the tools necessary to make sense of a visual world, develop their own voices and confront the difficulties they face.
“Thinking, analysis and developing enthusiasm for ideas all mean playing an active role in society,” says Diane. To date, the program has trained over 25,000 young people and now reaches across France, igniting the potential of students from all backgrounds through the power of images. “Socrates used words, we want to use pictures,” she adds.
“It’s the school I would have loved to attend when I was 20,” says Casa93 co-founder Nadine Gonzalez, of the Paris fashion school she set up with Caroline Tissier that’s “designed to train young people to work for a better world.” During a break from her career in fashion communications, Nadine took a trip to Brazil that inspired her to build something for the greater good. She decided to set up a charity there, in order to help vulnerable women find work in the textiles industry. The project grew into a school, and she ended up staying in Brazil for 12 years, before deciding to return to France and replicate her work in the Greater Paris area.
“Casa93 means home, and home is family,” she says. The school works as a collective to train a new generation of creatives by transforming fashion into a less polluting and more inclusive industry. Tutors are experts working in the industry, and well-known fashion brands sponsor projects. Many of the students come from some of the most economically-challenged neighborhoods in the greater Paris area.
Alongside a creative education, the courses provide fulfillment, and with it, the self confidence that helps students face adversity. “What makes it work – and this is also true of sport – is the idea of the collective,” says Nadine. “That’s where young people naturally find their place, and that’s so important. Education can change the world,” she finishes. “MJ and WINGS embody the power of education.”
As the Jordan WINGS program grows in Europe, these first three partners are poised to provide a blueprint and serve young people across the continent.
For more about Jordan Wings, go to Jordan.com/WINGS.