By Dave Huddleston
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of teenagers from the suburbs reach out to kids their age who live under much different circumstances. Jasmin Johnson, 16, started the program after she learned about teens in crisis.
Inside a shelter in Fairmount are kids who just need a place to stay. Gwendolyn A. Bailey, executive director of Youth Service Inc., explained, “Some of them are not connected to family, some are and unable to live at home at the current time, so this is a temporary home for some of them.”
Around 300 children ages 12 to 18 comes through this emergency shelter every year. Some don’t even have their own deodorant. Carla Johnson, who works here at the shelter, explained the situation to her daughter, 16-year-old Jasmin.
“So she got some of her friends at Cheltenham High School involved, and they said, ‘We want to adopt this shelter,'” said Carla.
Tonight, Jasmin’s project, called REACH, is presenting the kids with toiletries collected in a school drive. There’s everything from feminine products to body wash as well as clothes that young people like.
“They get all excited when they see what’s at the table,” said Jasmin. “One guy’s like, ‘Oh, an Abercrombie jacket? Save this for me! I want this!'”
Willie Little of Youth Emergency Service said, “We like to give every kid their own personal care items. They don’t have to share things like soap and toothpaste and all of those personal care items that we take for granted.”
Even better, the kids are all getting a chance to know each other and play charades together.
“It really gives them an extra-special sense of somebody out there cares,” said Bailey.
Thanks to REACH, they can all just be kids again.