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Teens for Jeans effort begins next week at Piedmont High

Sarah Headley, 16, a junior, at Piedmont High School, begins her second year spearheading the Teens for Jeans effort in Union County. She is pictured with her mother, Jane Headley, folding some of the jeans they have already collected for the upcoming drive.

One out of three homeless people in this country are under the age of 18. The fastest growing segment of the homeless is children and families. Three Union County Public Schools, led by the efforts of one Piedmont High School junior, are joining a national effort to help cloth these individuals.
   
Sarah Headley, 16, a junior, at Piedmont High School, begins her second year spearheading the Teens for Jeans collection effort in Union County on February 1st. It continues through February 12.
   
“There are approximately 3,000 teens that are homeless in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools,” Sarah said. “But this isn’t just something for teens. Due to the economy, it’s families. So when you donate any size jeans, you’re benefiting the entire family.”
   
Last year, Sarah and fellow Piedmont High School students Callie Rape, Allison Haines and Sarah Venn, collected 714 pairs of jeans between Piedmont Middle and High Schools. Her goal this year is 1,000 pairs of jeans. Now Unionville Elementary School has joined the effort.
   
“We had such a good turnout last year, there’s no reason to stop now,” she said. “I think people know about it more now and know exactly what it’s about. So I think they’ll donate more of their jeans.”
   
Sarah’s efforts even caught national attention recently when she was featured on Page 88 of the February 2010 issue of  “Seventeen Magazine.” She was thrilled to find she was featured on the same page as Twilight star Ashley Greene who is also promoting the project.
   
“Seventeen called my house and set up a phone interview,” Sarah said. “We talked 20 or 30 minutes. The magazine editor said she had a lot of people across the nation to interview, so I didn’t even think I would get in. She said for me to send in pictures from the drive and they would call me in a couple of weeks.”
   
Sarah found out she was featured in the teen magazine while shopping with her mom, Jane Headley, at a local grocery store. “I saw that the new issue of Seventeen was out and thought I had better open it. When I did, I saw our picture and I freaked, right there in the middle of the grocery store.” 
   
Her mother, Jane Headley, has been a huge supporter in the effort, helping her daughter both years. “We’re not asking for money. Just go through your closet, pull out the jeans you don’t wear anymore, and let someone else benefit from it,” Jane Headley said.
     
Sarah has also moved her cause outside the school system and into the community. Her father, Scott Headley, of Bankers Life and Casualty in Charlotte, will have a collection point at his business, as will the Express Newspaper in Wadesboro and the NC Highway Patrol in Monroe.
   
Once collected, the jeans will be taken to the main drop off point at the Aeropostale store in the Concord Mills Mall. The effort is sponsored by the Aeropostale stores and DoSomething.org.
     
This year, the first 100,000 pairs of the jeans collected nationwide will be donated to Haiti. Aeropostale stores has promised to match this with an additional 100,000 new pairs of jeans, making a total of 200,000 that will be sent to Haiti.
   
To donate jeans to Sarah’s cause, the main collection points are at Piedmont High and Middle schools and Unionville Elementary School.
 

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jan 29, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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