2nd Annual National Summit for Period Poverty Leadership

Claire Cox and Adele Stewart recently attended the Alliance for Period Supplies’ (APS) National Summit for Period Poverty Leadership on October 23rd, 2019. It was the second time the Georgia STOMP coalition attended the summit, though the first time Georgia STOMP was just an idea – not a 15,000 person-strong reality!

At the Summit, Claire and Adele presented the progress made over the last year in Georgia – highlighting the coalition building that led to successful relationships forged with Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, and Department of Public Health.

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Cheering them on as they presented were two coalition member representatives – Jamie Lackey, CEO of Helping Mamas, and early advocate for the Georgia STOMP pillars, and Andrea Cooke, of Macon Periods Easier fame! Both were able to answer questions by other attendees about their involvement with the coalition, and some of the innovative ways they are addressing product need in Georgia.

Other presentations included incredible data reviews from a disturbing but incredibly meaningful study in St. Louis by Dr. Anne Serbert Kuhlmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., followed by a review of a year’s worth of APS data by Kelley Massengale, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Research and Evaluation at the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. The data from both of these presentations will surely change the advocacy landscape nationwide, highlighting our understanding of menstrual product access.

Look for more insights from the Summit over the coming weeks as we prepare for the 2020 Legislative Session!

Girl Scouts and Georgia STOMP – Badges Galore!

Over the summer, Claire Cox and Adele Stewart were lucky to meet the girls of Metter Girl Scout Troop #30083, and help them earn three new badges while discussing the pillars of Georgia STOMP’s work!

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The Brownies worked on Being a Philanthropist, and learned how to help people in need. The girls picked up quickly on how important it is to help one another in our communities, and how difficult life can be when needs aren’t being met. We talked about how some people need period products, and when they don’t have those products, how challenging going to school and staying at school might be. They also packed period packs to donate to the local schools so that girls in their community could focus on getting an education.

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The Juniors learned about Inside Government, and explored complex concepts about what it means to be a citizen, and how we all can be engaged citizens. They discussed different levels of government, and learned  how a bill is passed! After the training, they were able to contact their local State Senator and Representative about what they learned, and why they thought menstrual products 1) shouldn’t be taxes, and 2) should be freely available in schools.

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The Cadettes learned about Finding Common Ground, and used potato chip flavor preferences to understand the idea of compromise when many people have different opinions. While BBQ was the unifying potato chip flavor, the girls also explored more difficult concepts of why people may or may not think that menstrual products should be taxed, or freely available in schools. They also contacted their State Senators and Representatives, using emails as well as postcards.

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Georgia STOMP was honored to be able to make the trip to Metter and meet these young advocates. If your Girl Scout Troop is interested in earning these badges with our coalition, please contact us at GeorgiaSTOMP@gmail.com.

Gwinnett & North Fulton County Junior League Town Hall

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Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero, Rep. Sam Park and Claire Cox

The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton County (JLGNF) is preparing itself for the upcoming legislative session! In a Town Hall Tuesday night, Georgia STOMP representative, Claire Cox, gave an update on the coalition’s work towards menstrual equity and elimination of period poverty in Georgia.

League members were fully engaged in the conversation, expressing gratitude for progress to date, and pledging to participate in efforts to pass HB8 in the 2020 session. Additionally, questions and discussion centered on assuring existing funding for school girls remains in next year’s state budget, and making sure girls in Juvenile Justice facilities have adequate supplies.

Following Georgia STOMP’s presentation, SPAC Delegate Regina Matthews posed questions to two Representatives from Districts where JLGNF members reside. After a question about HB8, Rep. Sam Park and Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero brought updates on other legislative matters including maternal mortality, sex trafficking, the economic effects of the Governor’s mandated budget cuts, healthcare and medicaid expansion.

Georgia STOMP is grateful to JLGNF, Regina Matthews, and League President Jennifer Wallace for the invitation to spread our message and for allotting valuable meeting time for this purpose.

If your group is interested in a presentation, get in touch soon!

Together, let’s get ready for the 2020 Session!

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Gwinnett and North Fulton County Junior League members with Rep. Sam Park, Sen. P. K. Martin and Claire Cox

 

Communities in Schools: Fueling Ambition in Schools

Communities in Schools Georgia President and CEO, Carol Lewis, spoke to Georgia STOMP leadership following our presentation and indicated CIS-Georgia’s desire to join the coalition!

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Claire Cox (Georgia STOMP), Carol Lewis (CIS-Ga President and CEO) and Leslie Myles (CIS-Ga Director Programs and Student Support Services)

Georgia STOMP was invited to speak at the Communities in Schools (CIS) Executive Directors’ meeting today in Atlanta, where affiliates from across the state met to plan for the upcoming year.  It was an honor for our coalition to be present as the men and women at the tables dedicate their time ensuring Georgia’s students succeed and reach their potential.

Claire Cox presented about Georgia STOMP’s 4 pillars, focusing on the $1 million in funding that was allocated to the Department of Education for feminine hygiene products. Those present were encouraged to communicate with principals, school nurses, school staff, and community members about the state funding to ensure all school systems know its purpose when the money is released by the State Department of Education and to be prepared to advocate for its continued presence in the budget when the legislature convenes for its 2020 session. All of the Executive Directors were also invited to officially join the Georgia STOMP coalition.

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Always Names Macon Periods Easier a “Period Hero”

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In a celebratory press conference Thursday, Georgia STOMP coalition member, Macon Periods Easier announced “Macon is one of five cities nationwide – and the only one in Georgia – that will be receiving national help to address lack of menstrual supplies and fight period poverty. The work of Macon Periods Easier (MPE) has drawn the attention of Always, a global menstrual care brand, which is donating 35,000 feminine care pads to the organization that it calls one of the “Period Heroes” leading efforts to end period poverty for school-aged girls in their communities.”

Macon Periods Easier now distributes products in every Bibb County public school, as well as to recreation centers and the local health department.

Nationally recognized Superintendent of Bibb County School District, Dr. Curtis Jones, was present to acknowledge the importance of this work and supplying menstrual products in school.

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2019 National School Superintendent of the Year Dr. Curtis Jones

Speaking of his numerous years involved in public schools, including 10 years as a Superintendent, Jones said, “the best way for students to be successful is to be in school and one of my jobs is to get all the barriers out of the way.”  In speaking of Bibb County’s effort to increase its graduation rate to 90% by 2025, he continued, “this effort is one of the additional partnerships that we have that I think will make us be successful” and to the young women present in the audience at the press conference, he turned and said, “You don’t have to stay home. We have support for you.”

Congratulations to Macon Periods Easier for a highly successful year! Georgia STOMP is proud to work with coalition members who demonstrate menstrual products provided in schools DO make a difference in the ability for young women to learn and be valuable, productive members of their communities.