For each T-shirt sold as part of Jordyn’s Summer Shirt Project, namesake Jordyn Moore, a 17-year-old Lambert High School student with autism, grabs the shirt out of a specially-designated bin, folds it and includes a card.
“We wanted to try to come up with an idea for, once she ages out of school, what she can start doing,” said Jackie Moore, Jordyn’s mother. “So I came up with the idea, along with my husband. We thought, ‘Well, we can design a shirt, she can roll it, sign a thank you card and package it. We’ll see if we get 40 of our friends to purchase the shirts.’”
Jackie Moore said she was worried at the beginning of the project that they would be able to sell even one shirt. Those fears were quickly assuaged by the response on social media. She said more than 7,500 shirts have been sold since June.
“We’ve sold one to someone in every single state,” she said. “We’ve had people vacation in them all over the world, so it has just taken off from there.”
Along with teaching Jordyn job skills, the family also worked with her occupational therapist to find ways to make rolling the shirts easier and more beneficial to her.
“When we started this, for Jordyn to roll one shirt independently, she would not have been able to do,” Jackie Moore said. “We now stick an entire pile in front of Jordyn.”
The project began with dark gray shirts with colorful lettering, now known as the “Jordyn style,” and now has a necklace and a lighter gray shirt with dark blue lettering known as the “Hudson style,” named after Jordyn’s 5-year-old brother, who is already learning to roll shirts.
Helping with the project is Lambert senior Sarah Chirchirillo, who Jackie Moore described as a “job coach” who helps slow Jordyn down, processes orders and directs Jordyn to tubs of shirts with different colors and shapes denoting different styles, sizes and designs.
“Sarah has done a great job with coding things to make it easier for Jordyn to be able to find,” Jackie Moore said. “Sarah’s working, and she’ll be like, ‘I need a short-sleeve small.’ She can tell Jordyn, ‘I need a round, orange small,’ to help color code it where it is easier for Jordyn to pick it out.”
The pair — who are both able to leave Lambert at 1 p.m. through the school’s work-based learning program — work primarily on rolling and prepping the shirts for shipping on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the family taking the packages for shipping on nights and weekends.
Chirchirillo said she thought the project had “been really cool” and began working with Jordyn when she came to the school last year.
“I was peer there because my mom is a teacher, so that’s when I met Jordyn,” she said. “Then I babysat her a couple of times for [her parents] and Hudson, her little brother. This year, I’m still peering there, and that’s when we started the project over the summer.”
As the shirts have become more popular, a Facebook group for the project has grown to more than 4,000 followers and features photos of Jordyn and others at events and customers from around the globe showing off their shirts.
“What has really been neat is seeing people from all across the country. Truly, they are cheering Jordyn on. They have followed her story. They love her story,” Jackie Moore said.
Jackie Moore said the popularity of the shirts and their message have also made Jordyn more recognizable to others at Lambert, who are quick to show their support. Recently, Jordyn and other Lambert students even took part in a photoshoot to show off the shirts.
“Jordyn now, pretty much every teacher at her school knows her, comes up, talks to her,” she said. “Sarah will occasionally send me a picture like, ‘Yeah, this person stopped Jordyn and wanted a picture,’ so it’s been really cool.”
Using the platform they’ve built this year, the project will team with members of Lambert’s DECA Club for a social media campaign to have as many people in October, which is National Bully Awareness Month, hold up a sign reading “I Pledge to be Kind” with the hashtag #BeKindtoEveryone.
“Then we want to lead up to November. It’s National World Kindness Day, to where we have all kinds of people pledging to be kind to each other,” Jackie Moore said.
“It’s been all around a really heartwarming project, and I think we all know the world needs a little more kindness right now,” Jackie Moore said. “… I don’t think we could have picked a better message at the moment.”