Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2019 - 33

collecting and packaging pads to give to local women's shelters and
their school nurse for other students. To date, they have packaged
several hundred pads to be given to those in need.
This small but mighty group of girls is intent on making positive
change and having their voices heard. Through their participation
in Southern Middle School's Youth Volunteer Corps leadership
group, these young women have been given the tools to address
issues at their root causes, develop solutions and advocate for others.
"Girls Supporting Girls. Period." is a grassroots effort that can make
sustainable change in our community.

in school bathrooms, so that students neither have to miss classes
or risk their health because they do not have them on hand, nor do
they have to suffer the embarrassment or delay of asking a teacher or
nurse for them. To date, at least fourteen state and local jurisdictions
have proposed legislation providing female students with access to
menstrual products, free of charge. Pennsylvania is not among them.
This is where the Youth Volunteer Corps group at Southern
Middle School steps in. Their project which they call "Girls
Supporting Girls. Period." is working in various ways to address the
problem locally. First, the group set out to change the bathroom
culture in their school, hoping that with better student behavior,
they could begin to make changes that would eventually include
the addition of menstrual products in the bathrooms. They
created a pledge to respect and care for their bathrooms which was
subsequently signed by over 150 girls in the school. As a result of
this first step, the group is currently working with their principal
on making improvements to their school bathrooms. Second, the
group created a short survey that was administered to 25 girls in
three Reading Middle Schools to demonstrate the detrimental effects
of menstrual inequity on their peers. They found that 48% of the
girls surveyed reported having to use makeshift menstrual products
during their period because they didn't have access, 60% of the girls
reported being distracted from schoolwork because of their periods,
and 36% reported having missed at least one day of school because
of their period. Like other girls around the globe, this small study
indicates that local girls experience a decline in school attendance
and productivity as a result of limited access to menstrual products
- powerful information for a school district to know. Third, the
group is seeking to raise awareness by contacting adults outside
of their own school to see what policy changes can be made to
ensure menstrual equity for girls in other schools, especially those
in disadvantaged areas such as Reading. As the group awaits replies
to their letters to policy makers and administrators, they have been

Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) of Reading is a program that
focuses on promoting a lifetime commitment to service among youth
by helping students ages 11 to 18 develop volunteer projects in areas
about which the students are passionate. YVC of Reading is one of
nearly 40 affiliates of Youth Volunteer Corps national, and hosted
locally by VOiCEup Berks. The YVC leadership group at Southern
Middle School is sponsored by the Power of the Purse Fund of the
Berks County Community Foundation. Find more information at
www.voiceupberks.org/YVC. VOiCEup Berks is a fund of Berks
County Community Foundation.
Plan Int'l U.K., Break the Barriers: Girls' Experiences of Menstruation in the
UK 11, 15 (Lucy Russell & Kerry Smith eds., 2018), available at https://planuk.org/file/plan-uk-break-the-barriers-report-032018pdf/download?token=FsHYP3v.

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SPRING 2019

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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2019

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2019 - 1
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Spring 2019 - 2
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