Local Female Athletes Find A Common Goal:
Combining Lacrosse and 28 Days to Boost the Confidence of Girls in Need
- April 2017
A Somerset Hills Connection of Service and Sports. Bridget Kenny, a 2011 graduate of Bernards High School, went on to Gettysburg College where she was a nationally-recognized Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America Team player. Upon graduation, Bridget joined the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps as a College Advisor. Through this program, which is a joint venture of Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College and Millersville University and is an AmeriCorps program, Bridget assists students in finding the best match and fit for schools, or with military and career plans. One of the schools supported is Mount Union Area High School. The school is a Title 1 school, meaning more than sixty percent of the students live at or below the poverty level. In this financial environment, the cost of feminine products is a burden on families and has an impact on the confidence of the young women to stay engaged in school.
Amy Dietrich, co-founder of 28 Days, a non-profit dedicated to providing feminine products to girls and women in need, knew of Bridget's work in the rural school and connected with Bridget to support the school's need for feminine products. When the school nurse identified 150 girls in need, 28 Days sent 4000 tampons in packages the girls can pick up directly at the school. In addition to tampons for 150 students, the school nurse asked if 28 Days could send deodorant.
This call to action was picked up by Bernards Middle School 8th grader and lacrosse player, Kelsey Klein, and her mother, Mary. Kelsey plays lacrosse for T3, a club team based out of Bernardsville, and is where Bridget played in high school and coached summer camps. Kelsey rallied her T3 lacrosse club teammates to collect deodorant for the benefit of the girls of Mount Union Area High School - resulting in nearly 80 individual deodorants donated in the span of two weeks. This is in addition to a donation of 30 deodorants provided from a local non-profit.
"The feminine product donations from 28 Days and the deodorant collected will make a huge difference in the lives of my students," said Bridget Kenny.
"When communicated that packages of tampons would be available, not just a single tampon they could take when needed, girls flocked to the nurse's office. Making deodorant available as well is one less thing students need to worry about so they can focus on school, friends and their future. The students, faculty and I are all very grateful," said Bridget Kenny, college advisor at Mount Union Area and Juniata Valley High Schools.
Our distribution partners are essential to the 28 Days model," said 28 Days co-founder Amy Dietrich. "Our partners understand the unique needs of the girls and women and the best ways to get products into their hands, every 28 Days," said Dietrich. "School nurses, counselors and advisors are an integral part of our program, as they are in touch with the students and are a direct channel of support and distribution."
Both Kelsey and Bridget's love for lacrosse is not just building physical and skill-based talent, but find the support of being on a team. Connecting with other young women through sports, clubs, or academics is something both would like to see happen for all girls. In rural areas, sports may be one way a young woman can expand hopes for college. If girls feel a lack of confidence when managing their periods in the classroom or on the sports field, their chances to explore options outside of their world can plummet.
"It's hard to think that girls our age have to worry about basic things, like deodorant and feminine products. The minute my teammates and my coach heard about it they asked,'how can we help?' Everybody came to the next practices with armfuls of deodorant," said Kelsey Klein. "That's one of the greatest things about being on a team -- it's not just about what happens on the field, it's what we do off the field, too."
28 Days currently has 15 distribution partners and relies on donations from individuals, foundations, and companies. To learn more or donate to our program, please visit www.28daysproject.org/donate or contact us. Together, whether as a donor or as a non-profit partner, you can make a difference. Period.