Mary Mendez, 18, of Manchester Center, Vermont, a senior at Burr and Burton Academy, stocks feminine hygiene supplies in their school’s restrooms to ensure that students have the products they need to go about their school day when they’re menstruating. Mary knew from personal experience the challenges of starting your period at school. “I had forgotten to pack any menstrual products with me, so I had to walk across school to the nurse’s office,” they said. “I told my friends about my frightening experience and they all had similar stories.” Mary immediately wondered why feminine hygiene products couldn’t be made available in the school’s bathrooms, and bounced the idea off of classmates, teachers and family members. Upon receiving encouraging feedback, Mary decided “it was time I did something to change this for the better.”
So Mary began mapping out a plan, detailing how many products would be needed, how they should be distributed and packaged, and how much it would cost. The vice principal and school nurse gave their approval and ordered the products while Mary went out to buy baskets to hold them. Finally, the plan came to fruition as they filled the baskets and placed them in restrooms throughout the school. “Students who experience the menstrual cycle no longer have to worry about being able to obtain the correct products,” said Mary, who is now working to help other high and middle schools implement the program.