By: Sarah Virkstis (@SarahVirkstis)
This past February during our 10 Acts of Service in celebration of GrandPR’s 10 year anniversary (Grand Valley’s accredited student-run firm), we were able to partner with Be A Rose as a contribution. This partnership lasted for the duration of the month and with the help of The Panhellenic Association joining along, we donated 6,664 pads to the Grand Rapids community!
What is Be A Rose?
Be A Rose is a Grand Rapids non-profit founded in 2014 which provides feminine hygiene products to those in the downtown area. Their mission is simple and profound:
“Our mission is to provide health and wellness education to underserved women and school-age girls and to distribute hygiene products to these populations at zero cost.”
According to Data USA, a whopping 64.1% of the PR industry is female. So ask yourself this: If you, or anyone who has a period, are subject to financial decline and difficulty, would either of you know where or how to attain the products you need as a woman? My guess is that you probably wouldn’t.
It’s only through philanthropic efforts and the generosity of West Michigan, Be A Rose is able to stay consistently successful in its efforts to end period poverty. Be A Rose puts it perfectly as they state that they “aim to disrupt the cycle of poverty and shame that many people, young and old, experience due to a lack of reproductive health education and limited access to hygiene supplies.”
What’s in store for 2019/2020?
As the VP of Philanthropy, it was my job to find a non-profit that stood out to me for our chapter to partner with for the duration of the year. As a young woman with a period, and after being inspired by our determination to help this cause earlier this year; I couldn’t think of a better place to start! That being said, we will be partnered with Be A Rose through the end of the academic year in April. Until then, it’s up to us to be engaging regularly with this organization in an attempt to make a difference for the community that has given us so much, while asking little in return.
To make things fun we are coming up with different ways to keep everybody up to date and engaged on our social platforms. sharing facts and statistics that you may not have known about is just one of the interesting things we have in store! Be sure to be on the lookout for “that time of the month.”
On top of that, The Panhellenic Association is super excited to join us again in serving this wonderful organization!
What is my role?
As a PRSSA member, nothing is required of you. I know we’re all broke college students. Yet, most of us are still able to buy daily lattes, and of course our monthly supply of hygiene products. We only ask that you donate as much as your heart will allow! If you’re looking for added points towards your graduation cords, you can make a donation AND help with packing session where we will gather to separate products and prepare them for distribution.
I can only hope that you all have been persuaded to be as passionate as me about this amazing opportunity for our chapter to give back. Maybe when you’re perusing the isles for your next supply, you’ll spend an extra couple bucks to help out a fellow person in need!
Are there any guidelines? How do I donate?
Due to the nature of some cultures and religions, we kindly ask that if you choose to donate a physical product, that it be either overnight/heavy or ultra-thin pads.
If you wish to make a monetary donation, please see me before or after meetings. We also take Venmo! You can send these to @GV_PRSSA. For all donations, we ask for a minimum of $5.00. Be sure to label all Venmo donations with “Be A Rose” or use the rose emojis!
*Bonus brownie-points if you share our cause on your personal socials to get your own friends and families involved! The more, the merrier!
If you have any further questions or want to know more information about getting involved, feel free to reach me at: email@example.com, or come chat with me before and after our meetings every other Thursday night at 7PM in Neimeyer 148!
ABOUT SARAH VIRKSTIS
Sarah is a senior studying Advertising and Public Relations. As a transfer student, this is her second year as an involved member of PRSSA, and staff member of GrandPR. Sarah serves on the E-board for GVSU’s chapter of PRSSA as VP of Philanthropy. Sarah hopes to one day use her Ad/PR skills in international affairs, working for the Walt Disney Company, or possibly even combining the two. In her free time, you can find Sarah out at the barn getting ready to ride her favorite horse, Oscar.