by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
PORT ORANGE -- Members of a local board run by local teenagers helped out some of their own with a simple gesture -- giving them a pair of jeans.
The city's Youth Advisory Board, whose members are middle and high school aged, collected seven pairs of jeans for the national Teens For Jeans drive, organized by the nonprofit Dosomething.org in partnership with clothing retailer Aeropostale. The donated jeans are given to homeless teenagers throughout the communities where they are donated.
"We're glad we can help the local homeless teens that need some clothing," said city spokesman Kent Donahue, who organizes the Youth Advisory Board's monthly meetings. "The students were very excited to participate."
The board's members dropped off the jeans at Aeropostale's Daytona Beach store at Volusia Mall. The store's manager, Meredith Otto, said the Youth Advisory Board was just one of the many school and youth groups in the community to participate in the local Teens For Jeans drive. Students from Mainland, Seabreeze and Spruce Creek high schools also got involved, she said.
"It's great for the kids to get involved with the community," she said.
The jeans Aeropostale receives are distributed to local homeless shelters and organizations that aid the homeless. Ms. Otto said the jeans locally are given to the Stewart-Marchman Center, the Palmetto House and Family Renew Community.
One million pairs of jeans were collected nationwide for last year's Teens For Jeans drive, including 800 from the Daytona Beach Aeropostale. Ms. Otto said in an interview that 300 pairs were collected so far this year, but with the drive set to wrap up Saturday, she expects more donations to come in.
This was the first year the Youth Advisory Board participated in the Teens For Jeans drive. Mr. Donahue said the board's chairman, Jonathan Montes de Oca, recommended participating in the drive after researching things the board could do to help the community.
Mr. Donahue said the jeans were donated from the members' own wardrobes, and he donated a pair himself. He said the board is willing to participate in the drive again next year, possibly asking others throughout the community to contribute to the effort.
"It looks like it will be one of our annual give back to the community projects."