Meet some of our brightest lights.
Here we celebrate some of our supporters who are committed to ending period poverty in Indigenous communities.
Please contact us if you would like to volunteer or otherwise support us!
Sue Wagner, Amy Wagner Hones and Joyce Hones
Joyce Hones, Sue Wagner and Amy Wagner Hones (left to right)
Sue Wagner, Amy Wagner Hones and Joyce Hones — three generations of generous women — each celebrate their birthdays by making gifts, and requesting that their friends make gifts, to us. Amy is a monthly donor, and Joyce recently dedicated to us the proceeds from the yoga classes she teaches. All three kwe’k (women) are citizens of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
Last month, we spoke to all three women to thank them for their support and to ask why they give. Sue told us that she gives because “it doesn’t seem right” that students might have to miss class just because they are on their periods. She appreciates that we provide puberty education materials to “help ease the transition” to young adulthood. Amy termed it “obscene” that menstruators have to navigate their students and work lives without sufficient supplies. Joyce is “passionate about supporting The Kwek Society because the mission was developed in direct response to an identified need.”
“The Kwek Society provides materials, resources, and education to shift an experience that could feel shameful and limiting (experiencing menstruation without supplies or knowledge) into empowerment by honoring the development and dignity of young Native people,” Joyce said.
“The Kwek Society is especially meaningful to us, as we came to know the founder, Eva Marie Carney, as our CPN legislative representative. We deeply trust and respect her spirit of service, advocacy, and integrity.”
The women each noted their pleasure in having three generations supporting one cause that each believes in. As Joyce put it, “By combining our giving, we are acting together with hopes of supporting and perpetuating good for future generations.”
Chi migwetch (many thanks), Sue, Amy and Joyce! We are delighted to have three generations of supporters!
Glad Rags, a Certified Benefit Corporation operated out of Oregon, is a generous partner of The Kwek Society. Its mission is “to positively transform the experience of menstruation through reusable menstrual products and relevant education.”
One of The Kwek Society’s governing principles is that we are guided by the needs and desires of those we support. This means that we furnish those we help with the menstrual products they prefer — not the products we think they should use. When we start a new partnership, we offer the options of disposable pads and tampons, reusable menstrual products, and menstrual cups. While we find that most of the students and community members we support are interested exclusively in disposable period products, a portion have welcomed Glad Rags’ generous donations of their reusable, washable period pads. We anticipate that folks’ interest in reusables will expand and that our partnership with Glad Rags will deepen accordingly.
Kelsey Hennessy, GladRags Social Media Manager
Another of our governing principles is that we offer puberty and menstruation education alongside our donations of period supplies. Glad Rags offers a thoughtful small book that we commonly provide students, Passage: A Guide to Periods. The book explains the menstrual cycle in a lively, positive way. It includes journal pages and a pen-and-paper period tracker. Student feedback has been highly positive.
Bras for Girls/Dr. Sarah Lesko
Shawnee (OK) Public School students and staff, with sports bras gifted by Bras for Girls.
We at The Kwek Society are true “fan girls” of Bras for Girls and its CEO, Dr. Sarah Lesko. We were introduced to them in November 2021. Since that introduction, they have gifted more than 800 sports bras to student we support and, fortunately, they are just getting started! Students attending Keet Gooshi Heen (AK) Elementary School, Meskwaki (IA) Settlement School, Wingate (NM) High School, Tohaali (NM) Community School, Shawnee (OK) Public Schools, Chemawa (OR) Indian School, and Wounded Knee (SD) District School and Red Cloud Indian School (SD), all have benefitted to date.
Migwetch (thank you), Bras for Girls and Dr. Lesko, for your support of The Kwek Society and the students we serve!
Ron Lapitan is an exuberant supporter of The Kwek Society. He lives in Northern Virginia, working for a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal and social services to immigrant women escaping gender-based violence and volunteering in his free time with the local branch of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program. Both of these initiatives have foundations in the Bahá’í faith, which teaches the oneness of humanity.
The Bahá’í youth program with which Ron is involved encourages teens to explore the force of change they want to be in their communities. After finding their inspiration, the youth create service projects. An all-girl group that Ron mentors expressed curiosity about how and why someone would start a nonprofit. After The Kwek Society’s founder Eva Marie Carney spent time with them, the girls were keen to assist in our mission, sewing moon time bags for us.
Ron Lapitan teaches Bahá’í youth avenues by which they can be a catalyst for change.
One of those avenues is active participation in The Kwek Society.
Ron welcomed Eva’s discussing with the girls periods and period poverty, noting: “I think cycles in general are something that should be normalized, and I don’t want them to grow up being shamed for that,” After Eva’s presentation, Ron shared information about The Kwek Society with other Bahá’í youth program leaders around the country, leading to other youth-led projects supporting our efforts. For 2022, Ron’s Northern Virginia group is planning a COVID-safe, in-person sewing session. Beyond that session, Ron notes, “I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationship grows,”
Migwetch (thank you), Ron, for your support of The Kwek Society and for inspiring Bahá’í youth to support Indigenous students and community members.
In support of our work, Ron made a fantastic TikTok showing how he dyed the fabric for and sewed moon time bags for us. Please watch and enjoy!
April Stobbe of Shawnee, Oklahoma, is a devoted advocate for children and families, and a great friend and ally of The Kwek Society. April serves on the Shawnee Public Schools School Board. When we told April about our efforts to end period poverty across Native North America, she donated funds to us and then jumped right in to address the issues specifically in her community. She formed a nonprofit, The Shawnee Alliance for Period Supplies, to ensure Shawnee schools’ bathrooms and locker rooms are stocked with period supplies. The Kwek Society supplements April’s efforts from time to time by sending period supplies to the Shawnee schools to support SAPS’s work and celebrate Shawnee students’ moon times. April welcomes questions from like-minded advocates who are thinking about starting an organization like SAPS in their own communities. You can learn more about SAPS’ work and reach April through SAPS’ Facebook page.
The Rosewitzes have made it a family matter to support The Kwek Society. We were excited to receive this video they made to celebrate and inspire others through their ongoing commitment to collect period supplies for us and support our work to end period poverty among Indigenous students and communities.
Dell Chalk is a Potawatomi kwe (woman). She was one of the Kwek Society’s first monthly contributors. She believes all Indigenous women are sisters. Dell reports that, as the first woman in her family born away from her homeland and the founder of her own international non-profit, the opportunity to contribute to the Kwek Society’s mission made “her heart jump.” Dell’s great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were strong women who taught her that God, our Creator, made women special. She notes that, while she may never meet the Indigenous students and community members The Kwek Society supports, each of them is precious and worthy and should know that others stand behind them. Her message to other women is to value yourselves, always help others, and give others hope, strength, understanding and special care, and to know you are loved.
Dell Chalk (right) posing with The Kwek Society founder Eva Marie Carney and CPN Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett
Alex Dickman is The Kwek Society’s most prolific seamstress. Alex grew up in Virginia and spent many summers in Oklahoma, visiting her mother’s family and traveling throughout the southwest. She is of Chickasaw descent with family ties to Clovis, New Mexico.
Before her retirement, Alex taught women’s health at George Washington University. Her awareness of health disparities and inequality in the United States drew her to The Kwek Society’s mission. She started sewing moon time bags, stuffing them with pads and liners — and a lot of kindness. Pre-pandemic, Alex’s 14-year-old granddaughter Morgan assisted her. Morgan, like her grandmother, has a passion to help others.
When the pandemic hit, Alex quickly realized the need for masks and once again started sewing for our partners. In 2020, Alex and Morgan produced 227 moon time bags and more than 2,153 masks! We are so grateful that they dedicated so much time and skill to this work.