Students join in national jean drive

Sam Mitchell

RBRO is joining in the national jean drive, sponsored by Aeropostale. Students can donate gently used jeans in the white boxes outside the Activities Office, EEE room, and Guidance Office.
RBRO is joining in the national jean drive, sponsored by Aeropostale. Students can donate gently used jeans in the white boxes outside the Activities Office, EEE room and Guidance Office.  Photo by Daphne Yu
Jeans strung up in the RBHS main commons serve as a reminder of what so many take for granted as an everyday part of life and what so many are without.
Members of  Rock Bridge Reaches Out began a collection of gently used jeans earlier this month. The project, “Jeans Dream Team”, runs through Feb. 14. RBRO will send the collected jeans to the local Aeropostale, a clothing store, in the Columbia Mall, which is sponsoring a nation-wide jean drive.
The jeans “are sent out to a distribution center which gets them to the homeless,” RBRO sponsor Kathryn Weaver said. “I believe that the target demographic is homeless teens, but if there are other sizes, they go to homeless people of all ages.”
Senior Jimmy Layman is responsible for bringing the jean drive to RBHS; he found the idea online when searching for social awareness campaigns.  After finding the idea, Layman introduced it to Student Council and assistant principal David Bones in order to get the event sponsored by RBHS.
“I really wanted to do something that I felt like high school kids would be more apt to get involved with, something that was a little bit easier than some of the things they try to get kids to do,” Layman said.  “I just wanted to start something at Rock Bridge to give back to the community and help people before I graduated and went on to college.”
The Jeans Dream Team drive collects jeans of any style, size, shape or color. They can be dropped off in the white boxes outside the activities office, EEE classroom and the Guidance Office.  The students’ efforts to donate jeans will not only help the underprivileged in the Columbia community, but also the RBHS student body as a whole. The school that raises the most jeans in the nation will win $5,000, jeans for every student in the school and a party sponsored by Aeropostale.
RBRO strung up jeans in the commons of the school to remind students every day to participate in the jean drive by digging through their closets. Weaver said it is a worthy cause and encouraged her students to bring in a pair.
“I think that jeans seem like such a commonplace thing, and many of us have lots of pairs of jeans in our closet. So you can go home, and it’s right there, and you can touch that thing that you’re going to bring in to make a difference,” Weaver said. “I think jeans are a part of our everyday culture, in particular teenage everyday culture, so I think it’s an easy access point to charity for kids.”
More than just the drive itself, Weaver was excited that students organized the drive independently and showed so much passion for helping the community.  Weaver feels that the students involved in RBRO have come up with some especially great ideas for charitable work this year, including this jean drive and junior Sophi Farid’s Christmas at Southampton project, which brought Christmas presents to the elderly.
This “is possibly the most rewarding aspect of my job.  I am so energized by student enthusiasm for service,” Weaver said. The students “came to me with this idea which is an uncommon one … and other ideas have been brought to us that have been really successful. When the ideas come from students and student’s passions, they are both more likely to be successful and more likely to stick and become a part of our culture.”
By Sam Mitchell