Shreveport teen holds sweet 16 jeans drive instead of party

You Can Help: Student wants to give a pair of jeans to each and every teenager in Shreveport who is homeless
(Source: Kai Scates/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Kai Scates/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Kai Scates/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Kai Scates/KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Instead of having a sweet 16, a Shreveport teen is collecting jeans for other teens in need until February 16.

The Jeans for Teens donation drive will have donation boxes at most Caddo Parish high schools, LSUS and SUSLA.

The drive is hosted by Caddo Magnet High sophomore Jalynn Mar'Dai Pickens.

She says she sat next to someone experiencing homelessness and wanted to do something to help.

"When I started high school I met someone in my class who was experiencing homelessness and I didn't know what to do because we're in high school and she doesn't have what I have and that made me feel bad and I wanted to know what I could do," said Jalynn.

She says she picked jeans because she thought other students would benefit the most from them. Those that choose to support the drive will be directly providing an essential clothing item for youth in need.

"In high school, most teenagers wear jeans and a t-shirt, and that's what they wear all week," said Jalynn. "I'm wearing jeans right now, jeans, t-shirt and converse."

The idea behind the drive is to create a "locker" of collected items at the Caddo Parish Schools' homeless services and the overflow will be donated to the Providence House for distribution to their residents.

The donation locations for Jalynn's Jeans for Teens are as follows:

  • Booker T. Washington
  • C.E. Byrd
  • Caddo Magnet
  • Captain Shreve
  • Huntington
  • North Caddo Magnet
  • Southwood
  • Louisiana State University Shreveport
  • Southern University at Shreveport
  • Christian Dance Center 

On the last day of the drive, Friday, February 16, from 4:00-6:30, donations can be made to Jalynn in person at the New Zion Baptist Church Education Building, 2535 Barbara Street, Bossier.

The drive is something Jalynn's mom, Dr. Joslin Mar-Dai Pickens says she's proud of.

Although, she was looking forward to the idea of throwing a big party.

"It may help my pocket book, but it's actually like a disappointment," said Dr. Pickens. "I was ready to celebrate her 16th. She's an only child and she's my little princess so I was ready for it. but I'm excited that she decided to do something so selfless instead."

For her birthday on Fat Tuesday, February 13 Jalynn and friends plan on sorting the jeans before donating them.

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