Vikings support Aéropostale’s Teens for Jeans


In an attempt to aid homeless teens in America over a course of three weeks, teachers and students collect dozens of jeans that decorate the walls and counters of teachers’ classrooms, such as Ms. Barbeau and Mr. Coe. Aéropostale stores rewarded the school with the most donated jeans with a $5000 reward among other prices.

Angelica Co, Student Life Editor

For the first time ever on Viking grounds, the student body took part in the Teens for Jeans campaign from Jan. 16 to Feb. 10 to help provide homeless teens nationwide with a pair of jeans.

One out of three homeless individuals is under the age of 18. While most teenagers have closets full of clothes and maybe even stacks of unused clothing, the kids living on the streets are hoping to get their hands on just one pair of jeans.—a non-profit organization that encourages young people to make a change through various projects—teamed up with Aéropostale to gather the jeans that will then be donated. Ashley Aragon, an Aéropostale employee and a current senior Viking, volunteered to take action and get the whole school to participate after she was approached by the store’s assistant manager.

“I volunteered to involve Downey High School because it’s for a great cause,” Aragon said. “These teens are people our age! I can’t even imagine being in a situation like that; it’s terrible how it’s such a huge problem in the United States.”

As the annual Teens for Jeans charity event continues on to its fifth year, the program also created incentives to motivate the schools and the students to take part. For every pair that a person brings, the donator receives a 25% off coupon from Aéropostale. To top it all off, the campus that provides the most contributions will win $5,000, a school party worth $2,000, and a pair of pants for every student.

“I hope Downey High School students will be as generous as they are in the blood drives and contribute as much as they can,” Aragon said.

But this project certainly has its benefits in comparison to the other fundraisers. The Teens for Jeans campaign did not require any monetary donations nor did it necessitate a huge amount of time. Individuals were asked to contribute a piece of clothing that can easily be found in the realm their home.

“It’s different in the sense that as teenagers we can relate more to the cause,” Senior Class Vice-President David Saenz said.

If the Vikings manage to prevail against all the other schools nationwide, the $5,000 award will be donated to the senior class; therefore, the class of 2012 offered their tax I.D. for stores to put on their tax deductibles in return for their donations. Saenz approached a few clothing businesses to see whether they are willing to offer their generosity to the kids in need, and fortunately, a clothing warehouse in South Central, Los Angeles openhandedly gave 40 pairs of jeans.

“I volunteer a lot in the city of Downey, so I became acquainted to many people and I remember one of them having a clothing warehouse,” Saenz said. “So I called him up and he was open to giving some jeans to our cause.”

Multiple classes and clubs agreed to take action and helped made this event successful. Ms. Barbeau openly showed her support for her Calculus student, Aragon, as she constantly reminded the Vikings about the campaign by decorating her wall with the jeans she and her students brought in.

“I think it’s amazing and inspiring that one student wants to make a difference and tried to bring everyone at our school together in support of a worthy cause,” Ms. Barbeau said. “The least I could do was to support her endeavor by bringing in some jeans and encouraging others to do the same.”

Certainly the “jean wall” attracted the attention of many individuals. After she communicated with her friends and family and informed them about the campaign, the keen supporter of school events also asked her students to do the same. This then led to her success in covering her whole classroom with jeans that she needed—not more jeans—but more wall space to hang the donations.

“I texted my family and friends and let them know about the Teens for Jeans campaign; by Sunday I had twenty-five pairs of jeans,” Ms. Barbeau said. “I was excited to have gotten so many pairs of jeans after sending out just one text message, so I used clothespins to put the jeans up in my classroom to show my students how easy it is to support this campaign.”

The campaign planted its roots at the campus this school year, and in the course of four weeks, the Vikings successfully collected 2,055 jeans. With Aragon’s management, the student body once again proved its astounding capabilities.