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News / Health / Clark County Health

Fighting period poverty: Hockinson High School students fundraise for menstrual products at middle school

By Chrissy Booker, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 28, 2024, 6:09am
3 Photos
Hockinson High School students including Audrey Davis, 18, foreground right, distribute posters in the school's front office to advertise a fundraiser for period products for middle school students. The group hopes adding period products for younger girls will decrease anxiety for those who may not have access to them at home.
Hockinson High School students including Audrey Davis, 18, foreground right, distribute posters in the school's front office to advertise a fundraiser for period products for middle school students. The group hopes adding period products for younger girls will decrease anxiety for those who may not have access to them at home. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

BRUSH PRAIRIE — Six students at Hockinson High School are raising money to boost access to period products for middle school girls, an effort they hope will reduce the shame some feel around menstruation.

Classmates Audrey Davis, Sophia Sermone, Sarah Deroos, Lyla Taylor, Kiely Fuller and Avrie Kellogg are aiming to raise $500 to supply period products in the girls’ restrooms at Hockinson Middle School.

According to a 2023 article in the National Institutes of Health, “menarche typically occurs between the ages of 10 and 16, with the average age of onset being 12.4 years.”

“We all agree that having period products in middle school would’ve been a really helpful resource, especially since there’s a lot more stigma around periods at that age,” said Sermone, a senior. “We want to show them that they have older people who are here for them.”

HOW TO DONATE

Visit  wa-hockinson-lite.intouchreceipting.com. Select “Hockinson High School.” Select item “FBLA Donation.” Enter the desired donation amount. Enter “Period” in the memo.

 

House Bill 1273, signed into law in 2021, requires schools in Washington to provide pads and tampons for free.

Period products are available to Hockinson Middle School students free of charge in the health room; the high school student leaders are supporting this existing resource through their fundraiser, according to Justine Hanrahan, a spokeswoman for Educational Service District 112.

“Access to everyday necessities directly impacts students’ ability to fully participate in their education.

“Having basic needs met helps students to be able to make the most of their school days,” Hanrahan said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the six friends zipped through the halls of Hockinson High School, putting up flyers to spread the word about the fundraiser. So far, they have raised $350 through the online fundraiser.

Safety, comfortability

The teens are all members of the Future Business Leaders of America chapter at Hockinson, a nationwide organization that focuses on creating opportunities for students after high school and encourages community service. Sermone is the vice president.

They said they were inspired by another student who organized a similar fundraiser a couple years ago. The high school now regularly supplies its restrooms with period products, they said.

“For us, knowing we don’t have to supply the products ourselves kind of takes away that worry,” said Davis, a senior. “I think the comfortability of students is important because it allows them to excel in other parts of school. They don’t have to worry about discomfort.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, “period poverty” is the lack of access to menstrual products, which nearly 500 million people globally experience. In the same article, it said the average person will spend about $20 on feminine hygiene products per cycle, or about $18,000 over a lifetime.

“It’s important because not everyone has the financial ability to get the feminine products they need. If schools can provide that, it makes schools a safer space for the students, and they can be more comfortable in their body,” said Fuller, a freshman.

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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