By Ella Martin
Did you know that 49 percent of middle school through high school-aged girls will at some point miss an entire day of school due to their period? Well, a local FishHawk resident and her daughter, Meghan and Kaylin Armstrong, have been working hard to lower this percentage.
Last year, the Armstrong family decided to start a service project that helps get menstrual products to girls who need them in a discreet way. The inspiration and motivation for creating this project came from the experience Kaylin had in which she started her period at a young age and only had access to menstrual products through her parents, as none were provided to her at school.
In 2021, Kaylin starred in a short film titled Code Red by director Jada Poon that depicted the lack of access to menstrual products in schools. In the film, a young girl gets her period and must skip class and go on an ‘adventure’ to find menstrual products. However, when a boy goes to the nurse to get a Band-Aid, he is easily able to get one, while the girl struggles and isn’t able to receive any menstrual products.
The film as well as Kaylin’s experience led to the Armstrong family wanting to create a way for girls to have menstrual products readily available in their schools. For young girls, getting their period can be a confusing time due to a lack of education, having irregular cycles and not having access to menstrual products at school or, in some cases, even at home.
Within the first year of starting their project, the Armstrongs were able to create 300 pouches filled with menstrual products and distributed them to the clinics at local elementary and middle schools. Teachers also took the time to educate the girls about their bodies and cycles. The pouches create a more comfortable and discreet way to bring menstrual products to the bathroom.
This year, the Armstrongs are working to decrease ‘period poverty’ at high-need schools in the Tampa area. Period poverty is when a girl doesn’t have any menstrual supplies because their family can’t afford them, which in turn causes many girls in these areas to miss school or even use toilet paper or tissues as menstrual products. The Armstrongs hope that with their program, less girls will miss school because they will be able to easily access menstrual products when needed.
To help with their goal, the Armstrongs are currently looking for product donations which can be purchased from their Amazon Wish List at https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/33QCBIVOC1L1J.