The Sheyenne 9th Grade Center, West Fargo FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community, Leaders of America) is focused on service, and presently working on an excellent project that will benefit both the local Women's Shelters and Haiti Relief efforts.
According to McKayla Baxley, an officer for the FCCLA group, they are involved in a 'Jeans for Teens' drive, where people donate their gently used jeans and they are given to the two designated causes. The Aeropostale store in West Acres has partnered with the group to match their donation of jeans.
Anyone who has jeans to contribute can do so by bringing their items to the Sheyenne office, or they can be placed in a container in the main entryway of the school located at 800 40th Ave. E. Students and faculty members are contributing to the cause and anyone in the community wishing to donate is also encouraged to do so. Deadline for participating is Thursday, Feb. 11.
"If you could participate it would be great," McKayla said. "This is a great way to get people to donate the jeans they no longer want or use, and it's also a great charity event. We are hoping to get lots of people to contribute."
The FCCLA group at the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center has been in existence since October of 2009, meeting once a month after school and during Opportunity Hour. Instructors Mary Anderson and Danielle Jangula serve as advisors.
Officers include: President, Kelli Foss; Vice-President, Whitney Lindbo; Secretary, Ryan Hoiland; Treasurer, Sydney Rakoczy; Parliamentarian, McKayla Baxley; Reporter, Ashley Casarez; Historian, Karlee Phillips; and Public Relations, Nikki Nyugen.
Club president Kelli Foss was instrumental in getting the 'jeans for teens' project going, but Anderson said that "all the students are so involved in everything. We have 20 members who are really enthusiastic and turn out for whatever we do. These kids really get into community service. McKayla designed our FCCLA T-shirts this year, and her logo was 'A community helping to make a better community.' That really says a lot about what this group is all about."
Kelli had read about the idea for "Jeans for Teens" in a teen magazine and the group had already planned to do it prior to the Haiti disaster, with the plan to donate all the jeans to local shelters.
As soon as their last poster was made, they received a totally coincidental call from officials at Aeropostale, who asked if they would partner with them in "jeans for teans." For every pair donated (which will go to local organizations), their company will donate a new pair that will go to someone in Haiti.
Fifty-four pairs of jeans have been collected to this point and the FCCLA is hoping for mega-more. They are asking for all types, the only criteria is they are in a clean, wearable condition.
Staff at Aeropostale will pick them up from the school and see they are distributed, with the donated ones staying local and the new jeans being shipped to Haiti.
In addition to the jeans project, the FCCLA group has been involved in a variety of other fundraising activities including: a bake sale and candy-grams over the holidays; selling concessions at 9th grade home games, participating in the Herberger's Community Day Event (currently selling coupon books for $5 for their Feb. 27 event), selling 'Glow for Children" bracelets to raise money for the national Children's Miracle Network service project; and "Trick or Canning" in October to help kickoff the Fill the Dome project.
The group also intends to send care packages to soldiers; is participating in the March of Dimes "March for Babies" in April; and had eight girls compete at Mayville in the District STAR Events on Jan. 29, faring extremely well. McKayla Baxley, Megan Jochim, and Emily Olson received a star rating and will advance to state competition in Bismarck in April for their "Promote and Publicize" project; Marian Ahmed, Suleyqa Hamza, and Sahra Sharif-Hassan received a bronze rating for their "National Programs in Action: Families First;" and Ryan Hoiland and Karlee Phillips received a silver rating for "Chapter Service Handbook."
They will also be observing FCCLA Week Feb. 7-13, planning a number of fun activities, including "guess the number of candies in a jar" as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, and Hat Day as a fundraiser for a "Dollars for Disaster" project for Haiti.
Anderson said the group is motivated by "really loving to serve. They have a real compassion for those in need."