One local high school club is working to change the community one pair of jeans at a time.
East Lincoln High School’s Project UNIFY club, the Mustang Project Club, is collecting new and used pairs of jeans until Sunday to be donated to local homeless shelters in an effort known as “Teens for Jeans,” a nationwide effort sponsored by Aeropostale.
Each Lincoln County high school has a similar type inclusion club, which, through the support of Special Olympics grants, unifies special needs students and other students through a shared goal of completing community-based projects.
According to the Project UNIFY website, each activity is an “education-based project that uses sports and education programs to activate young people to develop school communities where all youth are agents of change – fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.”
East Lincoln students chose “Teens for Jeans” as this month’s community-based project and initially planned to end their fundraising efforts earlier this month, school officials said.
On Friday, the club chose to extend the campaign for an additional two weeks.
East Lincoln High School teacher Lisa Frazier, who heads up the club and serves as coordinator for Special Olympics of Lincoln County, said the school has already collected more than 200 pairs of jeans but hopes to more than quadruple that number before Sunday.
“I would like to see us get 1,000 or 1,500 pairs,” she told the Times-News.
Belk of Lincolnton is also a collection site for the campaign.
While the nationwide effort is also a contest, awarding a $10,000 prize to the school or organization that has collected the most pairs of jeans, Frazier said the effort is about a need, not money.
“It’s a cause,” she said. “When homeless people come in and need a change of clothes that will make them feel a lot better if they have to go to school from the shelter wearing top-dollar, clean jeans.”
In addition, Aerospostale is offering an added incentive. For every pair of jeans donated, the store promises to give out a coupon for 25 percent off a new pair of jeans.
East Lincoln learned about “Teens for Jeans” while partnering with Aeropostale earlier this school year on an anti-bullying project.
The Mustang Project Club will also be participating with several other high school clubs Saturday in the Special Olympics’ annual “Polar Plunge: Freezin’ for a Reason” at Betty G. Ross Park in Lincolnton.
For more information on “Teens for Jeans,” visit dosomething.com.