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JFK students collect jeans for homeless teens

For the past several weeks, students in two small-group advisories at JFK Middle School have been collecting used jeans for teens at area homeless shelters.

This is the second year the middle school has participated in the Teens for Jeans drive organized by the Aeropostale clothing company, said JFK world languages teacher Lisa Stawasz, who suggested the idea to students.

On Friday, 18 students in Stawasz’s sixth-grade forum group and another seventh-grade forum led by fellow language teacher Andrea James will deliver jeans they collected to the Aeropostale store at the Hampshire Mall in Hadley for distribution to local shelters.

The company’s website notes that 1.7 million teens nationwide are homeless and their “number one request from shelters” is a pair of jeans. Since 2007, the Teens for Jeans program has collected 2.5 million pairs, according to Aeropostale. Participating schools receive store coupons and are eligible to win a grand prize of $10,000 and hoodies marked with their school name.

By Tuesday, JFK students had already collected 171 pairs of jeans. “Most students bring in their own jeans once they realize they have more than they need,” Stawasz said. “One boy brought in 18 pairs.”

Community service is an aspect of the middle school’s three-year-old forum program, which organizes students in small discussion groups led by school staff members. The aim of the program is to give students a forum for expression and regular contact with a supportive adult at the school.

Information on Teens for Jeans drives is available online at www.dosomething.org.

— BARBARA SOLOW

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