We Supply Native American Students with Period Supplies When They Cannot Afford and Don’t Have Ready Access to Them
Want to take action in response to the national disgrace that Native American students are skipping school when they have their periods because they cannot afford pads or tampons?
You can support us! GuideStar’s report about our work is available here. The site includes a DONATE button, with a one-time or monthly gift option (monthly gifts are prized, as they give us a steady income to support students’ monthly needs).
Just before Valentine’s Day 2019 we sent 110 sewn-with-love moon-time, personal-to-go kits to fifth-grade students in the Shiprock, New Mexico elementary schools, supporting their school nurse’s upcoming personal hygiene meeting with the students.
In late January 2019 we sent 10 boxes of period supplies, sports bras, underwear and first-period supply/celebration kits to students in 9 New Mexico schools.
We sent a 12th box of bras to students and mothers served by a community-based nonprofit, First Families Now, based in Porcupine, South Dakota.
The bras that we sent all came from Dana Marlowe and our friends at I Support the Girls. We were thrilled that I Support the Girls came through for us again, after sharing with us in November 2018 scads of pads, LOLA liners for this same group of recipients.
Earlier in January we formally entered an arrange- ment with the School Board of New Mexico’s Central Consolidated School District, in the heart of the beautiful Four Corners region of San Juan County in the northwest corner of New Mexico, to meet the period product needs of CCSD students who can’t afford supplies. The school district serves approximately 6,000 Navajo Nation students in 15 schools, plus early childhood preschools, and covers nearly 3,000 square miles. These schools have some of the most awesome school nurses who have been guiding us about the needs of their students.
Our New Mexico schools partnership began in September 2018, when we supplied students with almost 1400 tween pads and tampons, with the guidance of school nurse Cathy Manus LPN. We had the honor of spending time with Cathy and other Four-Corners-area school nurses, administrators, and students, in April 2019, for our first ever set of site visits. You can read more about our visits here.
We also are supporting Native American students attending Wounded Knee District School, in Manderson, South Dakota. In June 2018 we supplied 200 tampons; to start the school year, we sent another 400 to Wounded Knee District School students in September 2018. We followed up in January 2019 with a shipment of pads and underwear and continue to resupply the students as needed
Further, in November 2018 we supplied moon bags/period kits and pads to students in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, and since then have committed to providing quarterly supplies to these students.
You can watch a newsclip, and read the transcript, of a local Oklahoma news channel’s coverage of our initial foray into Oklahoma, here.
In April 2019 we stepped up to do more in Oklahoma, adopting the students in Oklahoma City Public Schools’ MyLife Girls Afterschool Program, after being introduced to OKCPS Native American Student Services Director Star Yellowfish. And in late April 2019 we added Sovereign Community School to our roster of school partners. SCS is a community designed charter school free and open to all kids and families with a specific mission to serve and impact the intertribal Indigenous community of Oklahoma City. Thanks to our generous donors, the school was stocked with period and other hygiene supplies when it opened its doors to 6th and 9th grade students in August 2019.
Right before the close of the 2018-2019 school year we agreed to partner with three Wyoming Indian Schools that serve Shoshone and Arapaho students living on the Wind River Indian Reservation. We were able to provide period supplies for students to take home with them as they left school for summer break and have jumped in with more period supplies in time for the new school year. In August 2019 we partnered with a fourth Wyoming school, Fort Washakie School, supplying students with our moon time bags (shout out to Fremont County School District, which operates the school, for including in its school budget period supplies for menstruating students!).
We started academic year 2019-2020 by adding additional partners: the first was our first Bureau of Indian Education-operated school — To’haali’ Community School, in Newcomb, New Mexico. To’haali’ serves Dine/Navajo Nation students in K-8 grades. We also began worked with a school board member and school administrator to provide the 4th-6th graders attending Shawnee Public Schools in Shawnee, Oklahoma our moon time bags, underwear, and period/puberty books.
Students living in four states and counting! Please help us do more! Money donations give us the most flexibility to meet students’ needs.
Pad drives conducted by volunteers also are terrific as they not only get us needed supplies, they spread the word throughout the community about students’ need and our work to support them. Here’s a photo of the recent “haul” collected by Genesis Lazo from her contacts in Northern Virginia, including staff of the immigration law firm Just Neighbors in Annandale, Virginia and members of the Young Professionals Program, Leadership Center for Excellence, Arlington, in which Genesis participates. Thank you, Genesis, for your time, leadership, and these supplies!
Further, a no-cost -to-you way to help us provide menstrual supplies to Native American students who need them is to shop Amazon through smile.amazon.com, and designate The Kwek Society as the charity to which you want a portion of your purchase to be directed. We get .05% of your purchase price and you get the joy of knowing you are helping support Native American students. Just go to Amazon.com, select The Kwek Society to receive your (no-cost-to-you) donations from eligible purchases, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation to us.