Bob Jones girls give essential care to Haitian girls

MADISON – Thoughtful outreach by girls at Bob Jones High School will improve needs for girls in Haiti in a most personal way.

Their project is affiliated with Days for Girls, an organization helping girls in developing nations by creating and distributing feminine hygiene kits.

Brandy Van Dam, who teaches family and consumer science classes, learned about Days for Girls during a mission trip with CrossPointe Church to Haiti. “CrossPointe sponsors a school in the small village of Campion. We (conducted) Vacation Bible School for students,” Van Dam said.

A woman from Iowa on the mission explained the work of Days for Girls. “It sounded like a great project. I recruited Kristy Wheeler and her fashion students to make the bags. It seemed like a perfect fit,” Van Dam said.

Van Dam personally distributed the kits to Haitian girls at their school. “It was a great experience,” Van Dam said.

Days for Girls is now an option during Patriot Path activities at Bob Jones on Wednesdays. “I showed videos from Days for Girls that discuss how hard it is for girls in developing nations during their monthly cycle,” Van Dam said.

“Many girls are not allowed to leave the house for lack of proper hygiene supplies. They sit on cardboard or other materials and don’t leave their room,” Van Dam said. Some nations force girls to sleep in barns because “they’re seen as impure.”

“We talked (to Bob Jones students) about not having access to supplies. There’s not a drug store on every corner,” Van Dam said.

Bob Jones girls were motivated to help. They found it meaningful to see photos of the Haitian girls who received the bags. 

“Each kit is completely handmade — a total group effort. Those (who know how to sew) were busy on the machines while others cut fabric, ironed and counted materials,” Van Dam said.

The Bob Jones chapter of Days for Girls collaborated with Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club to sew the kits. They collected gallon Ziploc bags for storage, 100-percent cotton fabric in bright colors, 100-percent flannel, travel-size soap, girls’ panties and washcloths.

Van Dam will return to Haiti during Spring Break. “This is a trip I will make every year, so I’m looking forward to keeping this going,” Van Dam said. She believes this project will inspire many students into helping the world around them.

“Days for Girls is very specific about fabric used in the kits,” Van Dam said. Most fabric was bought at Walmart, JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby.

“Any student is allowed to sign up for these Patriot Paths to create the care packages. The Patriot Path will go until Spring Break so interested students will have many opportunities to sign up and help the cause,” according to Casey Kula, a writer with “Patriot Pages” at Bob Jones (bjhspatriotpages.com).

Bob Jones freshman Grace Hannah said, “Mrs. Van Dam’s Patriot Paths are important because we get a chance to help those who are not as ‘privileged’ as us. This could help grow character and show kindness. We should always strive to help everyone we can because that is how you make the world a better place.”

Van Dam and Wheeler are accepting donations for the effort. For more information, visit daysforgirls.org.

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