Joey Goldman, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Joey Goldman

This past summer, the Epworth Children & Family Services youth board was asked to create a community service project to benefit the homeless and runaway youth in the community. They called it Jeans for Teens. Youth board members spoke at various places about the project and Joey Goldman was fortunate to hear about it at Camp Emeth.

The Jeans for Teens project entailed collecting gently used jeans for Epworth foster care children who are “Aging Out.” Aging Out is when a foster child turns 18 and is no longer eligible to remain in the foster care system. Since many don’t have a lot of clothes, they are given a pair of jeans as they leave Epworth. “This program not only gives a pair of jeans to a kid in need, it also lets them know that someone in the world cares about them,” said Joey.

Son of Libby and Brian Goldman of Creve Coeur, Joey decided that Jeans for Teens would be his project, too. To get the word out, he designed a Facebook group explaining how the collection process would work, invited all his friends, and then kept them up to date on the progress. Joey then visited the Epworth facilities to gain a better understanding of their foster care program.

With the help of his rabbi and school principal, Joey was able to post flyers at Parkway Northeast Middle as well as Congregation Shaare Emeth. He placed decorated collection bins at both locations as well. Joey’s Jeans for Teens project lasted five months, until his bar mitzvah day. It was quite a success as he collected over 250 pairs of jeans.

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“I felt great about this project,” said Joey. “It was nice to know that I was making a difference in people’s lives even though I didn’t know them. Even having a bin for drop off at my bar mitzvah party was cool, even though it was my big day. I watched as people dropped pairs of jeans into the bin. People were still helping me help others and that was a great feeling that is hard to explain,” he continued.

Kelly Sullivan, case manager of Street Outreach Services at Epworth, said Joey collected more jeans on his own than any other community bin in town. “I was really touched that Joey actually heard what was said about the Jeans for Teens project and that it impacted him enough to do something for others. It was really sweet,” she said.

For 145 years, Epworth Children & Family Services has provided St. Louis with youth development services that have helped thousands of children overcome severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Its mission is to help youth and families find strength, break through obstacles and build brighter futures.

For more information about Aging Out and Epworth, please visit their website at www.epworth.org.