According to a State of the Period study, nearly a quarter of students experience “period poverty,” a lack access to menstrual hygiene products, which can cause them to miss class time and struggle emotionally and socially in school. To combat this, HISD has teamed up with community partners Dow Chemical and Impact100 to give middle school students a crash-course in period literacy.
Two events took place at Thomas Middle School and Attucks Middle School where girls were invited to participate in information sessions developed by HISD’s Community Partnerships and Health and Physical Education Departments. The sessions were designed to prepare students for and destigmatize menstruation by familiarizing them with what they can expect from their changing bodies and introducing the tools and supplies that they will need to approach their periods with confidence.
“This is an amazing opportunity for us to come together and provide resources for our students and make sure that their basic needs are taken care of so they can focus on school,” said Tarah Ude, an HISD Sunrise Centers Program Coordinator who helped spearhead the workshops.
In addition to the information sessions, students were sent home with packages full of period essentials including tampons, sanitary pads, and reusable period underwear. The supplies, provided by Dow Chemical and Impact100, were chosen to help students familiarize themselves with their many options when it comes to period care and help them to understand that menstruation is not one-size-fits-all. Dow Chemical also stressed the benefit of reusable, environmentally friendly period products. Dow Chemical and Impact100 are committed partners in promoting period education and keeping students in school, no matter the time of the month.
HISD Nutrition Services coordinator Brittany Jones shared a recipe with the students for fudge brownies made with dark chocolate and ginger, both ingredients that can help with pre-menstrual pain and help to combat cravings.
“Our students are learning about health education supported by our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, where the girls are actually learning about their menstrual cycle in class, but having a program like this brings it home to them so they can make the connections between what they’ve learned and what’s being provided in these additional information sessions,” said Felicia Caeser-White, Curriculum Coordinator of Health and Physical Education K-12. “The biggest part of this program is helping them to understand that it’s okay to be on your period and it’s a part of their life cycle.”