SPRINGVILLE — As a senior at Springville-Griffith Institute, Ryan O’Hara knew that he needed to find a way to stand out from other students, when it came time to apply for college. While searching Dosomething.org
for ideas, O’Hara came upon Aeropostale’s Teens For Jeans Campaign. After doing some research, he knew he had found what he was looking for.
“I saw that [the program] could raise jeans for homeless teenagers, I could win a $4,000 dollar scholarship for college and the school that collected the most jeans would get a $10,000 grant from Aeropostale, so it could be a win, win, win, for myself, my school and homeless teenagers,” O’Hara said.
According to the Teens For Jeans charity, blue jeans are the No. 1 thing homeless youth ask for, when entering a homeless shelter. Since 2008, the campaign has collected 3.5 million pairs of jeans, nationally. The pants go to homeless youth, around the country.
High school students can start jeans drives at their respective schools. When someone donates a pair of jeans, he or she receives a 25 percent off coupon for a purchase at Aeropostale.
Students who start a school drive are entered for a chance to win a $4,000 college scholarship, and the school that collects the most jeans wins a $10,000 grant.
“Sometimes, money is hard to raise,” said O’Hara, “Everybody has a pair of jeans that doesn’t fit anymore or are out of style that they could get rid of.”
What started out as something to put on O’Hara’s college resume has transformed into something much bigger. He said he hopes to not only help out teens in need, but to better the S-GI school district.
“It’s turned into something more than a scholarship for myself. It’s turned into a community thing,” the student explained.
O’Hara’s mother, Karen O’Hara, has helped her son set up and organize the jeans drive. As a mother and a taxpayer, she said she sees the campaign as a great way to bring extra revenue to S-GI, if the district were to win the grant.
“This is possibly $10,000 that could go towards new equipment, new athletic stuff, whatever the school really needs, and it doesn’t come out of our tax dollars. [A grant for] $10,000 could go a long way, just for the community getting on board and donating jeans,” said O’Hara.
Between getting a late start on the campaign and inclement weather closing school at S-GI several days in a row, Ryan O’Hara said that he is aware that it may be tough for his school to reach a goal of 2,000 jeans, but he hopes to inspires students to continue the campaign next year, to keep helping the homeless and to be proactive by getting a head start on the campaign to help S-GI earn the grand prize grant.
O’Hara is asking all students and residents to participate, suggesting that each person donate two-three pairs of jeans.
Donations can be made at the S-GI High School lobby, or at SouthTowns Rte 219 Antiques in Springville. Aeropostale’s 25 percent off coupons are available at either location, and will be giving out one coupon per pair donated.
The drive runs until Feb. 14.