The Period Poverty Project, a non-profit organization founded by two 2022 Bishop’s School graduates, was recently the recipient of an unexpected $30,000 donation from a television show.
The young founders were “speechless” and completely stunned when they received the “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” TV show grant thanks to the winning performance of contestant Shea Couleé, who had selected the Period Poverty Project as her charity to compete. . by.
“It’s very exciting and I’m still almost in disbelief,” said Andrea Rix, a 17-year-old Carmel Valley resident.
Andrea, who graduated this spring from The Bishop’s School, co-founded the nonprofit with her best friend Yasi Henderson when they were sophomores in 2019. Her nonprofit serves those who don’t have adequate access to quality products. menstrual hygiene and seeks to debunk the stigma around menstruation by making periods the normal and comfortable topic of conversation that they should be.
The girls also started a podcast called “That’s on the period!” to talk about all things period. His motto: “It’s not awkward unless you make it awkward.”
Last week, Andrea left Carmel Valley for Yale University, where she will study biology. Next month, Yasi will go to UC Santa Barbara, where she will study biopsychology; It will be the first time the best friends have been apart in four years.
In July, the best friends were on their dream summer vacation in Paris, sitting in a cafe, when they received a phone call from a friend about the surprise donation. They hadn’t even seen an episode of “Drag Race” and had no idea how Couleé found out about them. On the show’s episode, each of the contestants chose a charity to support Drag Race Gives Back Variety Extravaganza: Couleé won the challenge by lip-syncing to Kylie Minogue’s “Supernova.”
“We thought it couldn’t be us, that it couldn’t be real,” Yasi said. But the website linked in the show was in fact his.
“We were super excited,” said Andrea, who still couldn’t believe it was real.
The $30,000 grant courtesy of the Palette Fund was made in collaboration with World for Wonder Entertainment and “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars”. It became a reality when the grant letter arrived in the mail, with a message from Palette Fund founder Terrence Meck and Couleé.
“We all need to de-stigmatize periods and the activations it has created are a powerful step in the right direction,” Couleé wrote. “I hope that shedding a light on your cause manifests nothing but the utmost abundance for your cause.”
Because of that shining light from the show, which was streamed by nearly a million viewers, they also received an additional $2,500 in donations from people who visited their website after the show aired.
Period Poverty Project is helping to fill a need that is not often talked about.
A recent study showed that one in five teenage girls in the United States missed school because they didn’t have access to menstrual products during their period. Homeless and low-income people who menstruate often have to choose between a meal and period protection.—Government assistance programs, such as food stamps for low-income US citizens, do not cover products for the period.
Since 2019, Period Poverty Project (PPP) has donated to Rachel’s Women’s Center in downtown San Diego and partnered with Covers for Lives and other student groups on a citywide campaign of menstrual products for the San Diego Unified School District. San Diego, where 40% of students fall below the poverty line, and the district was struggling to provide students with the menstrual products they need.
In 2021, PPP donated products to the more than 1,500 migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who were staying at the San Diego Convention Center awaiting decisions on their immigration status.
Last November, PPP hosted its largest donation event yet. By selling special pink PPP uniform polo shirts for Bishop’s, they raised $5,600 and purchased 80,000 wholesale items. Four tons of produce arrived in 16 trucks at Bishop’s; the boxes piled up and nearly covered the gym, Yasi said.
The entire senior class participated in a packing event. “That was a great thing,” Andrea said of the event that went a long way toward breaking the sigma when 150 seniors are packing up products for term in the middle of the day on campus.
Yasi and Andrea connected with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s office and the San Diego Housing Commission’s outreach director and donated all the packages to nine city-funded homeless outreach programs, enough products to six months.
All of the outreach programs came to Bishop’s to pick up the products and the girls said it was an amazing opportunity to learn about the different organizations in the city that are working to make a difference.
Yasi and Andrea are still thinking about how they will use this new influx of funds, whether it is buying products, partnering with other organizations, or launching an education program for girls. Most students learn about menstruation in fifth grade, and Andrea said the way it is taught can be uncomfortable and is sometimes treated as a taboo subject.
“The idea is that young people and members of Period Poverty go to primary schools and give a talk in a more normalized way,” Andrea said. Coming from a teenager, the topic could perhaps relate more to girls.
Andrea and Yasi had the opportunity to give such a talk to fifth graders at the Child’s Primary School in Claremont Mesa and said it was a wonderful experience.
Period Poverty Project chapters have now expanded to Canyon Crest Academy, Torrey Pines High School, La Jolla Country Day, San Marcos High School, Fallbrook High School, and Chula Vista High School. They are working to start a chapter at Our Lady of Peace this year.
Yasi and Andrea said proof that a stigma still exists is in how some schools they have approached will not accept the club because they feel the word “dot” is inappropriate. “That’s literally the problem,” Andrea said.
The young advocates plan to keep the conversation going, spreading their message that period protection is not a privilege.
“We truly believe that this donation brings hope to the menstrual movement and will have an immeasurable impact on menstruators in need,” Yasi and Andrea wrote on their Instagram in a message of thanks. “We are planning big things for the future of menstrual justice. We can’t wait for this to happen with all of you.”
For more information, visit theperiodpovertyproject.org