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Home News-Telegram News SSHS freshman launches annual Jeans for Teens drive: Boyett hopes to collect 2,500 pairs of jeans to help less fortunate teens

SSHS freshman launches annual Jeans for Teens drive: Boyett hopes to collect 2,500 pairs of jeans to help less fortunate teens

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Emma Boyett is once again asking the community to aid her in helping other teens through donations of gently used blue jeans —or jeans of any color for that matter — to her annual Jeans for Teens drive.

Last year, Boyett initiated a Jeans for Teens collection drive at Sulphur Springs Middle School to help other teens in need.

Boyett had been moved in the fall when Rachel’s Challenge, a program created by the family of Rachel Joy Scott who was killed in the Columbine school shootings to honor the teen’s memory of kindness and service to others, was introduced at SSMS. She was compelled to embrace Scott’s theory “that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go."

She knew she wanted to meet that challenge, to start a chain reaction of her own. She said she was compelled to act when she learned about a jeans drive to benefit homeless shelters. Boyett indicated that she knew, when her mom came across an email about Jeans for Teens, this was her way to pay it forward and start her own chain reaction.

Jeans for Teens is a blue jean drive through Aeropostale and DoSomething.org to collect jeans and donate them to homeless shelters. It notes that “one in three people in homeless shelters are under the age of 18. They are in desperate need of jeans of all sizes. Jeans are a way for these teens to feel normal in an abnormal situation.”

Moved by the staggering numbers, Boyett wanted to help. So, Boyett took the idea to the SSMS Student Council, who embraced it. The idea took off and was promoted at the school.

Initially, the drive was to be for just two weeks, Jan. 28-Feb. 8. Emma set a goal of 200 pairs of jeans. The drive had netted 34 pairs of jeans in two days and by Thursday, Jan. 31, the drive had already netted 150 pairs of jeans from the “big hearted community.” So, seeing an opportunity, the goal was doubled to 300. Sulphur Springs Elementary School, upon hearing of the drive, set up a drop box and collected 117 pairs of jeans in two days.

When it was time to gather up all of the jeans and take them to the Aéropostale in Firewheel, it took two vehicles to get the bounty to the donation site. The SSMS sponsored drive doubled it’s goal, turning in 625 jeans to the annual Jeans for Teens drive Feb. 9, 2013.

The staff at Aéropostale in Firewheel was so impressed with Sulphur Springs’ efforts when Boyett delivered them, that they made her aware the drive had been extended another two weeks and challenged her to do more. So, Boyett and SSMS Student Council rose to the challenge, setting a very ambitious goal of 2,500, utilizing the newspaper and media outlets, social media and word of mouth. As word spread across the school district, participation and donations grew to include contributions from the smallest of students to the most collegiate, and into the community to include businesses, agencies and individuals. Nearly every campus in Sulphur Springs Independent School District hosted at least one drop box, and groups at Paris Junior College promoted the drive and hosted a drop box at their PJC-Sulphur Springs campus. 

Boyett and a few friends and family even got hold of city officials to get permission to hosted a two-hour collection event Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, on the downtown square. That netted about 160 pairs of jeans from community members who’d heard or read about the drive. By Feb. 19, another 297 pairs had been collected toward the drive, bringing the Sulphur Springs Jeans for Teens tally to 922. A final plea was put out that week, and at least one more business put out a box to allow customers to donate if they wanted. Additional storage space was needed to store the influx of donations.

When the final count was in, the second donation from the Sulphur Springs Jeans For Teens drive more than matched the first. The Sulphur Springs community (with a little assistance from Emma’s church family at South Garland Baptist Church) donated 1,677 pairs of jeans in at least two different locations. That’s right, at least two different distribution locations — Sulphur Springs gave so many, they helped fill not one but two distribution locations.

The Jeans for Teens drive may not have reached the lofty 2,500 goal, but there’s not doubt it fulfilled Rachel’s Challenge, a testament to the generosity of this community, whose contributions are not a ripple but a wave of compassion for others.

Boyett vowed to continue the drive every January until she graduates and asked community members to save up their jeans for the drive annual. She’s a freshman at Sulphur Springs High School this year, but plans as a senior to recruit someone to take over the drive to keep it going locally.

Boyett over the next week will once again be putting out collection boxes at participating sites around town to benefit Jeans for Teens. As of Friday morning, the following had confirmed their intent to act as collection site:

  • SSHS
  • SSMS
  • Travis Primary
  • SSES
  • Bowie Primary
  • Guaranty Bond Bank
  • Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce
  • Sulphur Springs Public Library
  • Echo Publishing Co.

Boyett is waiting to hear back from some others throughout town to see if they too will host collection boxes.

This year, Boyett hopes to achieve the 2013 goal of 2,500 pairs of jeans, and if that’s reached will double it. She’s already off to a good start with about 50 pairs of jeans already donated. The drive begins this week and will continue through Feb. 15. Boyett is hoping to once again be able to have a drive on Sunday afternoon downtown for those who work or live a bit further out of town a chance to drop off donations too, but had yet to work out details with city officials.

“It is all about that chain reaction of helping others and not thinking only of one’s self and I believe that she as well as many others have shown this,” notes Emma’s mom, Jeanine Boyett.

 

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