Announcing 2020 Seed Grant from MSU Office of Outreach and Engagement
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
BOZEMAN, MT- Crescent Montana is proud to announce a new outreach program that has received funding from the Montana State University Office of Outreach and Engagement.
Our project, entitled "Addressing Period Poverty in Montana: A Multilateral Approach" will see us partner with 26 Montana schools to provide free, accessible period products in restrooms. In addition, we will be providing these schools with educational materials and resources surrounding menstrual hygiene including posters for use in restrooms and animated videos for use in the classroom.
"Our program is particularly helpful for students who experience stigma, fear, or uncertainty," said Abby Bernard, board secretary and principal program coordinator. "Our dispensers assert that menstruation is a normal, healthy experience, and allow students more control over their bodies."
This program is made possible by a collaboration with the Central Montana Family Planning Clinic, a Title X program that provides reproductive healthcare to six counties in the geographic center of Montana. "I am always looking for ways to promote our program and expand to new venues" said Sue Irvin, director of the CMTFPC. "The vision and response to Montana students in need of free period products touched me as a Health Educator."
Our investigations have shown that almost 25% of girls in the US have missed class due to inadequate access to period products, and lack of access to period products represents a major source of stress for two-thirds of girls.
Our trial programs have shown that the best way to address this issue is by providing free, readily-accessible period products directly in school bathrooms. "By making products and instructions on use readily available in restrooms, students are saved from the fear or stigma associated with a trip to the nurse's office for something as normal and everyday as menstruation," said Bernard.
Additionally, our research has revealed a clear need for better reproductive education surrounding menstruation and menstrual product use. To meet this need, under the guidance of CMTFP, Crescent Montana will be creating a series of informational posters and videos to provide quality, age-appropriate education to students who might not otherwise have access to this information.
This program will bring Crescent one step closer to its mission of eliminating Period Poverty in Montana schools. "Toilet paper is free in public restrooms. It only makes sense that something just as necessary, menstrual hygiene products, should also be free and readily available," said Bernard. "Our aim is to promote fair and equal access to education and to improve public health quality and equality!"