Scarborough teens help youth in need by donating jeans in 5th annual Teens for Jeans

According to Maurice Jordan, the chances of finding a decent pair of youthful jeans in a homeless shelter are pretty slim. Most of the clothes that people donate to shelters are worn and dated.

Maurice Jordan (Maurice Jordan)

“It is not stuff that younger people want to wear,” Jordan says.

However, Scarborough teens are making sure that Jordan, and others like him, get some modern jeans to wear. Since Jan. 16, teens across Canada and the United States have been donating their lightly-worn jeans to local Aeropostale stores.

“The company wants to help put jeans on kids that don’t have anything,” says Diane Brandst, manager of the Aeropostale in the Scarborough Town Centre.

This is the fifth annual Teens for Jeans campaign run by Aeropostale and Dosomething.org, which is meant to raise awareness about youth homelessness. The jeans brought to the Aeropostale store in the Scarborough Town Centre are donated to the Sutton Youth Shelter located in Sutton, Ont., the place where Jordan lives.

Corriene Edison, volunteer coordinator at the Sutton Youth Shelter, manages clothing donations as they come in. They have been receiving jeans from the Scarborough Town Centre Aeropostale for two years. The shelter usually asks for around 200 jeans.

Facts about homeless youth in Canada:

  • There are about 33,000 homeless Canadians. Approximately 11,000 are youth.
  • About 64% of homeless youth are male.
  • 91% of males and 72% of females are between the ages of 19 and 25 when they become homeless.
  • Studies have shown that homeless youth generally leave home around the age of 15.
  • 36% of street youth earn money by panhandling or “squeegeeing”.

Source: covenanthouse.ca

“It is a great program for us mainly because we are a little bit isolated, we are located in the north, in a small community, so there really isn’t a lot of stores and stuff that the youth can get to,” Edison said.

Jordan, 26, has lived in the Sutton Youth Shelter, on and off for about three years. He is originally from St. John’s N.L. but decided to come to Ontario in the hopes of finding better work opportunities.

“I never thought I’d see myself in a shelter because I thought I’d have myself figured out when I came here,” Jordan says.

However, living in a small town has made finding a job a challenge. Since he does not want to continue living in different shelters, he is waiting for an opportunity to find a job that will allow him to move to a bigger city.

“The jeans are good especially for people who are wanting to be out trying to find jobs or who are going to school or anything else,” Jordan said.

According to Jordan, the jeans that the shelter gets from the Scarborough Town Centre Aeropostale can be useful to him when he is looking for a job because they are modern. A good pair of jeans may be something that a lot of teens take for granted. However, as Jordan points out, there is infinite value in having a good pair of jeans.

Teens can continue donating their lightly-worn jeans at their local Aeropostale stores until Feb.12.