Jalynn’s Jeans: Caddo Magnet High student fights homelessness

Updated: May. 22, 2019 at 5:09 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - She was inspired by a classmate that was experiencing homelessness.

Caddo Magnet High School senior Jalynn Pickens didn’t stand by idle — she wanted to make a change and impact the lives of those who need.

More than 2000 students in Caddo Parish are homeless, living in shelters, cars, abandoned buildings, or with relatives.

“We have a lot of families that come in and when they come in they have only the clothes on their backs," said Caddo Parish School Board/McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison Kimberly Capers said.

Jalynn is trying to change that one pair of jeans at a time.

“It makes me feel bad because they are really trying to fit in because it is high school and they are trying to fit in with different people.”

Jalynn’s Jeans was created last year and the campaign took off. Jalynn traded in a chance at a Sweet Sixteen part to host a jean drive.

In the end more than 1,000 pairs of jeans were collected and most of them have been given out.

“I am extremely proud of her I think it is bigger than some think teenager they are not selfless at least the ones I think about and to see my own child want to give to other people rather than receiving things," said Joslin Pickens.

The jeans are a perfect fit to the McKinney-Vento homeless program where students and even families are welcome to the jeans.

“We try to give two or three pair to the child," Capers said. "If they need more they are welcome to do that if it is not there we will try and locate somewhere that can or if the funds are available, we will try and purchase the items.”

Jalynn’s Jeans has also help college students, particularly students at Southern University in Shreveport where there is a pantry that stores canned goods, boxed food items, household items, and jeans for students.

Southern University at Shreveport Associate Professor Sonya Hester helped to produce a short file and write a song called Invisible to help bring awareness.

Hester adds, some people camouflage what’s really going on.

"We walk by people everyday and don’t realize that this is their truth.”

Jalynn is hoping this effort will continue to grow so other students will have access if they need it.

Click here to watch the promotional video shot and edited by Rickey Jones to bring awareness to homelessness.

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