Tests, prom dates, and driver's licenses are just a few things high schoolers worry about, but access to hygiene supplies shouldn't be another thing on that list.
Ánimo City of Champion Charter High School believes students shouldn't have to worry about access to good hygiene – especially in the classroom. With the help of the school administration and the safety of the students in mind, Hygiene First LLC added a personal care machine to the building during March of this year.
Nickeya Hannah, CEO of Hygiene First LLC, a hygiene education-based company, wants to provide students with the necessary resources to support wellness, confidence, and growth.
Removing Barriers to Hygiene
The machine holds items that can help ensure students are comfortable throughout the day, including deodorant, gum, cleansing wipes, menstrual products, dental products, and hand sanitizer.
"Our machine is really about inclusivity. It's about our bodies and how we prepare for the day," Hannah said,who experienced the value of good hygiene resources as a McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act recipient. Students with access to immediate resources can choose what they need– when they need it– without calling parents, leaving school, or feeling embarrassed.
Mellissa Peña, Student Services Programs Manager who is McKinney-Vento and Foster Liaison, says that minor resources have long-term impacts on students who need additional support. It could mean the difference between navigating and taking one pathway from another. "Little insecurities or even bigger barriers can keep students from coming to school and accessing the learning our teachers can offer," Pena said. Peña’s student services team aims to broaden paths of success for students by identifying individual needs and providing support, to ensure students meet their full potential in the classroom and beyond.
"The key is that every student has access now to deodorant, which wasn't something they had before the hygiene machines," Ánimo City of Champions Physical Education Teacher Jennifer Dorosky said. Sweating during physical activities is common, yet students aren't willing to participate in physical education due to the discomfort and distraction afterward. In the few months that the machine has been on campus, Dorosky has seen students take full advantage of the device, using personal hygiene wipes to stay fresh right after P.E. class.
The hygiene machine is not only a tool to bring sanitation elements to all students but a gateway to education. Hannah acknowledges that people can overlook necessary hygiene behavior without the proper knowledge and skills.
First Hygiene LLC hopes to provide hygiene education through workshops twice a year. The workshops include topics on the importance of hygiene and puberty. Hannah believes that keeping the workshops inclusive and open for honest conversations on menstruation is essential in eliminating shame or embarrassment across the school.
We believe in students' full potential at Green Dot Public Schools CA. That is why we work to remove barriers by providing programs and services that can impact students' trajectories in life, even through small initiatives like a simple deodorant.