Valley Teen Creates T-Shirts to Spread Positive Messages
A Staunton-area teenager is using personal experience as a motivator to spread a little positivity throughout the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.
STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - A Staunton-area teenager is using personal experience as a motivator to spread a little positivity throughout the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.
For Jahleel Pettiford, what started as a little idea has now blossomed into a movement.
“Almost like everybody at my school had this shirt,” Pettiford said.
“When I'm out and I see that, I'm like, ‘oh my God, that is my son's T-shirt,’” Jennifer Boykin, Pettiford’s mother, said.
Pettiford, who’s 18, graduated from Lee High School in 2018.
“He was always drawing and always talking about doing something for the world,” Boykin said.
During his junior year, Pettiford went through a tough time.
“At the end of the my junior year, it was kind of like a little bit of depression and anxiety,” Pettiford said.
He found his way out through positivity, which is a message he now wants to share with others.
“We premature icons believe that hate is ugly, love is beautiful," Pettiford said.
He started leaving messages in downtown Staunton for others to be inspired by.
“It was the little pieces of paper,” Boykin said. “He would post it on light posts and it would be little positive quotes.”
After seeing the messages' influence, Pettiford pushed his movement forward and began printing T-shirts with slogans on them through a collection called Növel.
“This is probably my favorite shirt, honestly, ’cause it was one of the first ones,” Pettiford said.
“I just thought maybe it was something that he wanted to do just for school, like a project,” Boykin said.
But when Pettiford was playing in the state basketball championship at Virginia Commonwealth University last year, he saw the extent of his influence.
“I looked in like the stands and, like, I see a few of my shirts,” Pettiford said.
He could see that his message of peace, love, and positivity was spreading to other students.
“I can't believe it, because every time I see how many people think what he's doing is awesome it inspires me and it lifts me up and it makes me wanna love more,” Boykin said.
“If we actually know how to love each other, spread a little peace and be positive, I think the world could be a better place,” Pettiford said.
Pettiford is currently a freshman at Blue Ridge Community College.
He's sold hundreds of items, and as of now Növel is officially a limited liability corporation.
The clothing is available online.