South Middle School Scholars Collect Jeans for Those in Need
Scholars from South Middle School’s Teen Outreach Program, which is part of the Empire State After School Program are collecting jeans as part of their community outreach project. Why jeans? “Other clothes are more dispensable, but jeans last longer. They’re durable, they don’t get sweat stains, and you can wear them all year long. And sometimes you just feel better about yourself when you have a nice pair of jeans on too.” Bianca Knox, 8th grader at South Middle School
The project, led by six 8th graders and their advisor Ms. Ramona Burton, is multi-layered. First, they had to come up with an idea for their project. The group credits each other as each student brought a different skillset to the project. When discussing their different contributions, the group agreed that each member brought something unique. They identified a creative mind, a story-teller (with a lot of details), a “brainiac,” a researcher, and a leader. Together, they felt that everyone’s opinion was important and shared in the collaborative effort of the project.
Once the project was decided on, there were multiple adults to get on board. “We had to talk to the nurse to initially hold the jeans, the home economics teacher for their washer and drier, the science teacher to store all of the jeans, the principal, and security to collect drop-offs.” Biance Knox
The group developed a flier and each student has taken turns during the morning announcements to promote their project. On their first week, they received 35 jeans. “I was surprised by how many jeans we got. I think we did good marketing and showed the reasons for the project. We also explained what we’re going to do with the jeans and how we’re going to put them to good use.” Yamilka Velasquez. Aside from the amount of jeans received, the group was pleasantly surprised by the types and styles of jeans they received. The students proudly pointed out the different colors aside from the traditional denim, some with flower markings and different styles, and several different name brand jeans. At the rate they are collecting the jeans, they are deciding if they need to sell a few in order to buy more detergent and fabric softener.
Each week, the students take the collections from that week and are in charge of washing, drying, and folding them. Once that is complete, the jeans are sorted and tallied by size and category. The jeans are stored in a classroom until they will ultimately be donated.
“We’re not going to put them in the boxes that you see in parking lots. We are going to try to give them to the homeless or to a charity. We’re still deciding on which one because we want to make sure they go to the right one.” Justin Diaz. The group is still conducting their research and is focusing on organizations that provide evidence-based information about their practices before making a decision.
The next step for the group is developing a sustainability plan. They have spoken with Mrs. Cooper, the 6th grade administrator to get younger students involved. They’re hoping to implement a contest through social studies classes highlighting the aspects of civics and community service that result from participation in their project. Aside from their donations, their ultimate goal is to give every student in the school the opportunity to know and be a part of the project.
Eighth grade scholars who are make up this determined group are: Bianca Knox, Dulce Ramos, Yamilka Velasquez, Justin Diaz, Trey-Shawn Henry, Kandis Williams.
If you have gently used jeans that you would like to donate, please stop by the security desk at the entrance of South Middle School during school hours.