Empathy and empowerment go hand in hand. Local Arkansas High School junior, Ali Milligan, is using her voice to enable other women to care for themselves, when they might otherwise not have the resources to, with her volunteer project ‘Period Empowerment.’
Milligan has acquired over 400 volunteer hours and was titled Volunteer of the Year at her high school this past year. She now sets her sights on creating her own non-profit to help homeless women in the Texarkana region.
She is a veteran volunteer with the Salvation Army, Randy Sams Outreach Shelter, the Texarkana Friendship Center and is involved with many leadership programs, including the Today’s Youth Tomorrow’s Leaders. As if these commitments aren’t enough, she is also the current president of the Interact Club, a youth rotary program that assists homeless communities and special needs individuals in the Texarkana area.
In December, she gave away over twenty-five of her kits to the Salvation Army Dinner. She works tirelessly to keep the facility stocked with personal hygiene products. Through Period Empowerment, Milligan hopes to donate over one-thousand feminine hygiene kits before graduation in May 2019.
“Women need feminine hygiene products,” she emphasized. “Just because a woman is homeless does not mean she doesn’t have the same needs as a woman who is not.”
Milligan wants the community to understand the embarrassment some women feel when they are menstruating and have no resources to handle their periods. With hopes to increase awareness of her project, Milligan is reaching out to various publications in the community, asking for people to donate every month.
Period Empowerment offers two types of kits: a tampon based kit and a pad based kit. The tampon based kit includes 5 tampons, 3 panty liners, and 1 overnight pad. On the other hand, the pad based kit contains 2 pads, 2 tampons, 1 overnight pad, and 3 panty liners.
“I created two kits that are similar yet have differences so that women can choose based on their preferences when it comes to that time of the month.”
Milligan understands that it’s important to think of what other people are enduring, especially those less fortunate than most.
“I want to allow women to be able to realize that even though they are without a home, that they may feel dirty, less than women, they are not any less. They are beautiful complex Queens, handmade by God.”
Her main goal is to provide comfort for those women who feel isolated and disconnected from society, emphasizing that they are not alone. Milligan believes women should stand together, empowering one another, not ashamed of their bodies and periods.
For these women who are trying to traverse difficult living standards, Milligan wants to make one monthly inconvenience more easy to tolerate.
Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army of contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.