— One in a series on outstanding Fort Gibson students.
By Travis Sloat
Lacey Gotcher may only be a sophomore at Fort Gibson High School, but she is busily preparing for a college education by looking for ways to stand out in the crowd.
Gotcher said she wanted to initiate a project, one that would accomplish her goals, as well as help those in need.
“There are lots of homeless teenagers,” Gotcher said. “They all need help with clothing, and the thing they ask for the most are pairs of jeans. The clothing company Aëropostale is having a “Teens for Jeans” project, where students collect gently used jeans for those in need.”
According to the website www.dosomething.org, the program, which will run from Jan. 14 until Feb. 10, has a nationwide goal of collecting 2.5 million pairs of jeans for indigent teenagers in shelters across the United States.
Gotcher said her personal goal is 250 pairs of jeans, and she needs a big push from the school and community in order to reach those numbers.
“I have about 15 pairs right now,” she said. “I want people to go through their closets, dig them out of storage, anything they can do to participate. If you feel like you don’t have enough hangers, you could probably donate. This would be a great way to fulfill some New Year’s resolutions. Also, after Christmas is a good time, because people just got lots of new clothes, which means they now have old ones they can get rid of.”
After the collection, Gotcher said she will be taking the jeans to Tulsa for the drop off, but she plans to request that the jeans come back to the Muskogee area.
Donations can be made at Great American Cookie between now and Feb. 9, and in return, those donating will receive a free Big Bite cookie.
Gotcher said she’s always had a heart for the homeless, and this isn’t the first time she’s put thoughts into action.
“I sometimes do modeling in Dallas,” Gotcher said, “and they usually have food for us to snack on between shows. I noticed that they would just throw the food away, and I also saw a lot of homeless people around the venue. One day I asked them if I could have some cupcakes they were about to throw away, and I handed them out to those homeless people.”
What started as a spur of the moment idea has now turned into a tradition, and Gotcher said every time they’re in Dallas she has people box up leftovers so she can make her deliveries, supervised by her mom.
Gotcher plans to attend college in California after high school, and wants to major in fashion merchandising. She said her ideal job would be picking out clothes for models to wear in photo shoots for magazines.
“I’d also like to one day have my own clothing line,” she said. “But I also understand that you have to work hard and also get a few lucky breaks along the way for that to happen.”
Social media and advertising has helped Gotcher in marketing her “Teens for Jeans” project, including using Facebook, Twitter, group text messages, and hitting the streets of Fort Gibson hanging up signs for the drive.
Gotcher said she wants people to take some initiative if they are on the fence about starting a project or trying to make a difference.
“If you’re a student, get involved with the student council,” she said. “They are always doing projects and looking for help. Go to www.dosomething.org, they’ve always got interesting things for you to do. Just go out and get involved, and you’ll make a difference to someone.”
You can help
To donate to “Teens for Jeans,” bring jeans before Feb. 9 to the high school office or to the Great American Cookie store in Arrowhead mall, where you will also receive a free cookie for your contribution.