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Springfield Middle School students keep it green by collecting used jeans

Teens for Jeans program distributes gently used jeans to those who need them

February 07, 2013|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • Springfield Middle School student Amanda Curry folds jeans that will be given to needy people through the Teens for Jeans program.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Teaching students to think “green” means more than just recycling paper and plastic.

For Amy Yingling, a teacher and leader of the Green Team at Springfield Middle School, and the students on the team, this is the second year they’ve participated in Aéropostale’s Teens for Jeans program. The program collects used jeans for distribution to those who need them.

Yingling found about the program through a former student who worked at Aéropostale and knew Yingling ran the Green Team.

“It’s an initiative to get kids to understand when you’re done with something, it doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it. Don’t throw it in the garbage. Reuse and recycle,” Yingling said.

Springfield Middle’s Green Team has been promoting the effort with information on the school announcements and in the school newsletter, with posters and by publicizing it in The Herald-Mail’s Williamsport column.

Yingling said she has also “put it out to my friends on Facebook” and would welcome community involvement.

Springfield Middle is in the process of applying to be recognized as a Green School, which requires doing projects such as Teens for Jeans.

The collection began Jan. 23 and continues through Feb. 23 at the school. Jeans can be dropped off at Springfield Middle School or taken to the Aéropostale store at Valley Mall.

Those who donate will be given a coupon for 25-percent off their next jean purchase at the store, to be used by Feb. 24.

“The biggest thing is to get people to donate. We’re not in it for the credit. We’re in it because it’s a good thing to do,” Yingling said. 

The goal is to collect gently used jeans to be donated to local homeless shelters. The program’s website indicates that there are 1.7 million teens in the U.S. who are homeless and that their top request was for a pair of jeans. 

Last year, 248 pairs of used jeans were donated for Springfield’s drive, which were delivered to the Aéropostale store at Valley Mall.

Store Manager David Walls said 1200 pairs of jeans were turned into the store last year by school and other groups, churches and individuals. In addition to Springfield Middle, Walls said Washington County Technical High School and McConnellsburg High School in Pennsylvania have signed up online to participate.

This year’s goal company-wide is to collect 1.25 million pairs of jeans, Walls said by phone. Locally, 200 pairs of jeans will go to Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) in Hagerstown. 

Since the Teens for Jeans program started in 2007, 2.5 million pairs of jeans have been collected, according to www.dosomething.org/teensforjeans. They have partnered with 1,000 homeless shelters across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

The grand prize for the school that collects the most jeans is a $10,000 grant, Aéropostale hoodies with the school’s name on them and a party.

Students who sign up to run a drive with their school are eligible to win $2,000 scholarships. Those who share the fact about the number of homeless teens with six friends have a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship.

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