Crystal Light, students join in cause push

TARRYTOWN, NY: Kraft is sponsoring an initiative that paired at-risk high school girls with college students to pitch product ideas to the company.

TARRYTOWN, NY: Kraft is sponsoring an initiative that paired at-risk high school girls with college students to pitch product ideas to the company.

The effort is part of Crystal Light's wellness platform for women, which includes UPumpItUp.com (PRWeek, March 17). The goal is to spur their consumer demographic of women 25 to 54 to connect with each other and meet challenges.

The Fashion Design project united students from Step Up Women's Network, a nonprofit youth group, with Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) students to design and prepare presentations for original brand packaging, clothing, and accessory designs at Kraft's Tarrytown, NY, office May 13.

While the cause effort was slated to end at this final meeting, some presentations are now being considered for commercial campaigns by senior executives, said Melissa Merchant, Crystal Light brand manager. The students' work will also be on display during New York Fashion Week in September.

Bridget MacConnell, Kraft's director of corporate affairs, linked the project to Crystal Light's platform to "give back to its consumers and open up new doors for women." Kraft has worked with Step Up for two years to provide at-risk teenage girls with opportunities to learn skills with professional mentors.

Merchant noted that Kraft did not form a large-scale media program for the initiative, underscoring the fact that the project was not intended to sell more products.

"It was not only about exposing the girls to Kraft, but also getting the opportunity to hear viewpoints [on the brand] we hadn't before," she added. "However, the relationships the [FIT and Step Up] girls formed was the real highlight."

Crystal Light is sponsoring other projects with Step Up, including a photojournalism program that pairs the students with professional photographers to create work for exhibits and auction in late July.

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