*I just love it when educators and politicians get together and give people what they truly need…and then to have it be free…wow!
Of course its no surprise that a thought to disperse something like free tampons and minipads would come from a woman (it would be an act of GOD for a man to think of such a thing, right?), but City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens) came up with the idea.
At first Ferreras-Copeland did the pilot small-scale; having a stand-alone bathroom dispenser with free tampons and pads installed at the Queens High School for Arts and Business last year.
The host of positive and grateful responses from students, who said that because of the complimentary supplies they had fewer classroom emergencies, inspired the councilwoman to work towards broadening the reach of the project.
Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose, who is helping to manage the project, says the goal is to help female students focus on learning and feel comfortable during class.
She states, “Having easy access to feminine care products is essential. This pilot marks a major step in providing additional resources to students in need.”
Education Department officials said the program could be expanded to more middle schools and high schools citywide, depending on how well it’s received.
“Girls in these districts face the greatest financial hardships,” said Ferreras-Copeland, who worked with the Education Department to select two districts for the expansion. “I want to ensure none of them lose class time, face illness or feel humiliated because their family cannot afford pads,” she said.
A 15-year-old sophomore named Ashley Celik commented on what the new program, which Education Department officials say will carry a $160,000 price tag this year, means to her. “You feel more confident and don’t feel as nervous,” she said. “You can just grab it whenever you need it. It’s there for you.”