‘Just go for it’: Caddo Schools alum continues giving back to homeless students from afar

20-year-old Jalynn Pickens is donating hundreds of pairs of jeans, as part of Jeans4Teens.
20-year-old Jalynn Pickens is donating hundreds of pairs of jeans, as part of Jeans4Teens.(None)
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:45 AM CDT
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CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - At 20-years-old, Jalynn Pickens is busy working through college courses at Grambling State University. But despite her workload, Pickens continues a moving mission for Caddo Parish students who are experiencing homelessness.

Pickens is the founder of Jeans4Teens, which began in 2018 when she learned that one of her peers at Caddo Magnet High School was homeless. The revelation was deeply moving for Pickens; it inspired her to begin collecting jeans for students who might not be able to afford new clothing.

“People are willing to help, but just didn’t know how,” Pickens said. “I was researching different ways to help.”

Pickens chose to collect jeans because they can be worn multiple times between washes. Donation boxes were placed at different schools across Shreveport. During her first year, she collected more than 1,000 pairs of jeans for students in need.

“It inspires hope,” she explained. “Even through all the negative aspects of Shreveport, there are still positive aspects.”

Though the pandemic put a pause on her thoughtful efforts, Pickens is gearing up to make her first big donation to the parish. On Thursday, April 14, Pickens will deliver more than 200 pairs of jeans to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program.

Pickens says she wants other students who feel empowered to make a difference in their classrooms to do so.

“If you want to do it, just go for it,” she said. “You’ll always have people on your side.”

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