First-graders in Danielle Santangelo’s classroom at Rollins Place Elementary in Zachary are collecting denim jeans as part of a campaign inspired by the program, one of the largest global organizations for youth and social change.

According to the website, 4.8 million members in 130 countries tackle volunteer campaigns dealing with issues such as poverty, discrimination, racism and the environment.

“Our campaign is called ‘Wrangling in Denim,’ and students have spent numerous hours collecting, counting, folding, boxing, graphing and motivating others to contribute to such an impactful cause,” Santangelo said.

Since the campaign started Jan. 11, students have engaged in teamwork activities to keep track of the jeans they’ve collected, stacking them in pairs of five to make counting easier.

“This helps with their math skills, too,” Santangelo said.

The students have received more than 450 pairs of jeans, and will continue collecting the denim through Feb. 12. The jeans will be given to homeless shelters in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities.

According to Santangelo, 1 million youth in the U.S. experience homelessness annually, and one thing they often say could be a huge help is a pair of jeans.

“Students are learning at an early age the importance of putting forth their time and effort to help those in need,” Santangelo added.

The first-grade class encourages other students, schools and the community to contribute to their “Wrangling in Denim” campaign. Jeans can be old but gently used and all colors, sizes and styles.

Drop off your denim in the school’s front office, 4488 Rollins Place, or send through a student.

The top three schools collecting the most jeans will receive monetary grants to be used for any purpose and $500 to throw a party. First place receives $3,000; second place, $2,000; and third place, $1,000.

The winning class also will receive a dance party.