A passion for fashion and a closet overflowing with jeans prompted one Starkville High School student to give back to her community.
SHS sophomore Leah Gibson is a self-professed blue jean addict, which got her thinking about what life would be like without her jeans.
The wheels began to turn and before she knew it, Gibson had started a city-wide community service project.
“I decided I wanted to be more involved in the community, so I did some research and found Teens for Jeans on http://www.dosomething.org,” Gibson said. “It spoke to me because I love jeans and I thought about what life would be like if I didn’t have a pair to wear.”
Dosomething.org is a national campaign to inspire young people to get out in their communities to make a difference. The website gives young people a comprehensive place to browse potential community service endeavors. That’s how Gibson found out about the national program Teens for Jeans.
Sponsored by Aeropostal, Teens for Jeans seeks to collect gently used jeans to be distributed to homeless teens.
Pairing her love of jeans with her desire to give back, Gibson had a recipe for success. She enlisted the help of Piggly Wiggly and the Sports Center, who allowed Gibson to set up collection boxes in their facilities for people in the community to bring by their used jeans.
Gibson visited the sorority and fraternity house on Mississippi State’s campus and talked to them about her cause, and she got her high school involved.
“I put flyers up in the school and boxes were in the main office and the JROTC building,” Gibson said.
In less than a month, Gibson collected 102 pairs of jeans, 22 of which were from her own closet.
“I love my jeans, and I had never given any away, so I started to think it was time,” Gibson said of her own selfless donation. “It feels really good because it’s something I have and can give to someone else. Even if it’s a small contribution, I can at least help and give to somebody else.”
Gibson’s efforts caught on when her aunt learned of what Gibson was doing. A school teacher, Gibson’s aunt started collecting jeans at her own school and ended up with 140 pairs to contribute to the project, which wouldn’t have happened if not for Gibson’s example she set.
“I feel as though I’m getting so much out of my community that it wouldn’t make any sense not to give back,” Gibson added. “My ideas might help someone, and I just feel I should make a contribution when I’ve been given so much.”