We interviewed one of our incredible volunteers, Alicia, about her involvement with Steps to End Domestic Violence:
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: Hi there! I’m a student in my third-year here at the University of Vermont working on my Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. On campus, I’m involved with civic engagement organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega and Alternative Spring Break. I also am involved with the Coalition of Students Against Sexual Violence. Off campus, I work as a caregiver for families in the community and in an assisted-living facility. In my spare time, I like to make bad puns, play with dogs, and hike around the area.
Q: How did you first get involved with Steps to End Domestic Violence?
A: I first learned of the organization a few years back when I volunteered for the Phone-A-Thon. As a student, I felt disconnected from the larger Burlington community. Learning about this organization in particular opened my interest toward initiating engagement with the people and systems outside of my immediate (UVM-based) reach. I recall receiving supports from organizations similar to Steps to End Domestic Violence as a child, so the organization’s philosophy as a whole really hits home for me.
Q: How did you decide to organize a tampon and pad drive for Steps to End Domestic Violence?
A: I read an article about this issue on a national level sometime last year. It really impacted me in noticing that I had never thought about the interaction between home insecurity and menstruation. I spoke about this with a few friends and I found that the topic stimulates this resounding “A-ha!” moment. People know that tampons/pads are expensive. People know how grueling it is when you run out of supplies during a cycle. People know that there is still shame associated with menstruation. So, when people can connect all of these elements with the intersection of being a uterus-owner without a stable living environment, they understand.
Q: What surprised you most about the tampon and pad drive?
A: I was most surprised at how rapid the response was. I think there were only a few days between the initial “Hey, who’s interested?” Facebook post and seeing multiple boxes of donations come in at our desk. People began to talk about the issue and ask about how to get connected with Steps to End Domestic Violence. The amount of compassion and urgency folks exuded over supporting donations was so inspiring for me. I often tell people that student leadership, more than anything else, has taught me how to handle rejection. With the pad and tampon drive, it reminded me of how passionate and dedicated the people in our community are.
Q: How many tampons and pads did you end up receiving?
A: Sooo many! The total number was 4,290 individually wrapped pads and tampons. People donated all levels of absorbency strengths and sizes. Donations came in small single-packs as well as Costco-sized boxes!
As a side note, I want to thank you all for providing such strong supports to the Burlington community. Keep up the amazing work!