XENIA — Xenia High School’s National Honor Society members are in the midst of a service project to which they can really relate.
The group is participating in Teens for Jeans, which is part of Aeropostale’s dosomething.org movement.
“We recognized that we have a lot of people in the schools that struggle with homelessness,” said Xenia NHS treasurer Lillian Calhoun. “We thought that would be a really good way to help people in the community. Jeans can be really expensive. To find a way to give them would be pretty helpful.”
The NHS members kicked off the campaign earlier this month and are collecting gently used jeans until Friday, Feb. 14. Donations can be brought by students to the high school or they can be dropped off at the Coffee Hub in downtown Xenia.
“When the students realized that nearly 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. were under 18, they really wanted to do something concrete to help,” said Jessica Parker, who teaches social studies and is the NHS advisor at Xenia High School.
Jeans are a common request from teens in shelters, as they are comfortable, can be worn multiple times between washes, and can even help the teens feel like they fit in better, according to the Aeropostale Teens for Jeans web page. There are currently more than 54,000 participants signed up to participate nationwide.
“As a girl I like having nice pairs of jeans,” Calhoun said. “Jeans are very durable. Teenage girls and boys would really benefit from this, so I feel really good.”
For the current drive, the school that collects the most jeans overall can win a grant for the school, but that was not the big motivator for the Xenia students.
“They realize that we are unlikely to collect more than some of the really big schools out there — they just want to help,” Parker said. “Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t try.”
Calhoun said they didn’t set a specific goal, but they have collected more than 100 pairs.
“It makes me feel really good,” she said.
This is just one of many service projects NHS has completed. The group participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, raising nearly $300 at an October varsity football game, and NHS members helped with a project to package food for those in need before the holidays.
An upcoming project will focus on battling sex trafficking, Calhoun said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.