Samantha Garvey did a lot to raise awareness for teen homelessness. Although the science-savvy New Yorker did not advance into the semifinals of the Intel Science Talent Search, her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show and other media put a face to an alarming statistic: According to The National Center of Family Homelessness, each year one in 50 American kids experience homelessness.
Right now you have the opportunity to help homeless youth like Samantha: You can participate in DoSomething’s fifth annual Teens For Jeans drive, which is taking place until February 12. This is an amazing national effort: Since starting the drives in 2008, DoSomething has donated more than 1.5 million pairs of gently used jeans to homeless youth. Here’s how to help:
ONE: Recruit a team. Start by making sure your principal is OK with you starting a drive, then sign up your school. You are going to need a lot of help so start spreading the word and signing up a group of committed friends who you know will be there when you need them.
TWO: Publicize your drive. You can download publicity material from DoSomething, and get a free banner when you sign up. Recruit arty friends to help you make posters for the school hallway that encourage kids to participate (and remind them to bring in their jeans!). Think of other ways you can spread the word, too: Does your school have a newspaper, radio station, Website, or daily announcements? What about local media? Make sure you mention DoSomething’s Grand Prize: The school that collects the most jeans will win $5,000, a pair of Aéropostale jeans for each student, and a party for the entire school. Check out the other prizes, too.
THREE: Start collecting. You will need to make collection bins to set up around school. Think about putting bins at restaurants and stores popular with your peers (make sure you ask the manager’s permission first!). Figure out who on your team is willing to pick up from these bins — or drive to students’ houses to collect their donations.
FOUR: Document your drive. Make sure you take lots of pictures of your efforts from your posters and bins to the volunteers and participants making it happen. You can upload your pictures to the campaign to help build momentum and spread the word about your school’s hard work. Make sure you keep count of how many pairs of jeans you’ve collected along the way so you don’t miss out on that grand prize.
FIVE: Drop off your donations. Find the Aéropostale or P.S. by Aéropostale store closest to you to make your school’s collection of jeans. Got more than 500 pairs? Make sure you contact email@example.com before doing a drop off. Even if your school isn’t participating this year, you and your friends can bring in your jeans to a store and receive 25 percent off a new pair of jeans for every used pair you bring in. What an amazing deal!
We love DoSomething’s Teen for Jeans campaign! Be sure to check out Like a Boss’s other ideas for helping homeless teens. How else can you make a difference?
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