By Katrina Bakhl ’15 and Jennifer Ferd ‘15
Skinny, straight, boot cut, or flare; any pair of jeans will help a teen in need. Taj Oden ’14 is having students “digging through those closets and washing those jeans” to donate them to Midwood’s first jean drive, TEENS4JEANS.
Meghan Ng’15 said, “I feel donating jeans will give teenagers hope and a chance to fit in.”
In an effort to raise awareness of homeless teenagers nationwide, Oden ’14 started a drive to help this cause, with the help of Ms. Marcia Kaufman, the coordinator of student affairs. To spread the word, he created an event on Facebook, titled “TEEN4JEANS Midwood HS Jean Drive,” to which more than a thousand people were invited. Announcements were made on January 2 and posters were put up outside of the school store and in the lobby.
“It is a nationwide event where different students, like myself, decide to host a jean drive,” said Oden ’14.
DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teens and social change, and their partner retail store, Aéropostale, originally launched the TEENS4JEANS campaign to help homeless minors. According to DoSomething.org, out of the 3.5 million people who experience homelessness, 1.5 million of them are under the age of 18.
“I think it’s a great way to help people,” said Samar Masud’15, “because everybody thinks of other things like food and vaccines for those people, but I don’t think jeans are donated as much.”
On DoSomething.org, Nancy Lublin, the CEO and Chief Old Person of the organization, stated that for the past five years, approximately 2.5 million jeans have been donated. Each year, more and more jeans have been received and this year, Aéropostale and DoSomething.org hope to collect more than the one million pairs of jeans they collected last year, which helped about two-thirds of homeless teens. To help this year’s campaign, Aéropostale has given 10,000 pairs of new jeans.
According to Businesswire.com, Scott Birnbaum, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and E-commerce at Aéropostale, said, “Aéropostale is committed to raising awareness about youth homelessness and we are excited to launch the sixth year of Teens for Jeans.”
Students and faculty are encouraged to donate any pairs of jeans that they no longer wear, just as long as they are still in good condition. Some students, such as Almas Shafiq ’14, are having their family sort through their entire closets to collect as many jeans as they possibly can. Those wishing to donate can bring their jeans to Ms. Kaufman in Room 417, from Monday, January 6 until Friday, February 7. After the last day of collection, the jeans will be brought to a local Aéropostale store, from where they will be distributed to the many different shelters that are connected to the drive.
“Even if we don’t win the prize, I really enjoy seeing how charitable events like these help unite people,” said Shafiq’14. “What matters is that we are helping our own age group by donating our own personal belongings.”
Aéropostale announced it will be giving a $10,000 grant and company logo sweatshirts to the whole school that collects the most jeans. Also, Aéropostale will be giving a 25 percent off coupon for a new pair of jeans to each student who donates.
According to the TEENS4JEANS campaign, when young people enter a homeless shelter, they often ask for jeans. A pair of jeans can change a teen’s life.