MASON — March 8 marked International Women’s Day with the theme “Choose to Challenge,” and was the perfect day for Wahama High School student Mary Roush to kick off her senior project.
For the remainder of the month, Roush is issuing her own challenge to the community in an effort to collect feminine hygiene products to be donated to local charities. A self-proclaimed feminist, Roush said she has always believed in “girls helping girls.”
She said she came up with the project after learning that one in five girls in the United States has missed school because she didn’t have, or couldn’t afford, feminine products.
“It’s a tough topic for some to talk about,” Roush said, “but it’s a bodily function every girl has to go through. I’m tired of the shame.”
Roush said she has already received a huge response after her social media post on Monday. She received $300 in cash donations that first day that will enable her to purchase the merchandise. Some of the donations came from men, Roush said, who came to a big realization when they learned the cost of the necessities.
“Men are sometimes so afraid to speak of it,” she said. “I was asked how much a package of tampons costs. They were surprised when I said five to seven dollars, and that wasn’t for a big package.”
Roush said she intends on donating the products to the Mason County Homeless Shelter. If she receives enough donations, she will expand the recipients to the county high schools and possibly more.
Roush said she has been inspired by the influential women in her life, such as her mother, grandmother and aunts.
“They taught me I can do anything, that I can change the world,” she said.
The daughter of Mitch Roush and Erin Krawsczyn, Roush plans to attend West Virginia University and major in public relations. She added she is interested in politics and would like to work in government someday. At Wahama, she is a member of the varsity volleyball team, National Honor Society, yearbook, is involved in STEM Robotics, and is the bookkeeper for the girls basketball team.
Donation boxes for the drive can be found at Wahama High School, St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Haven, the Mason and New Haven libraries, New Haven Pharmacy, and Farmers Bank corporate office in Pomeroy. Roush will be speaking Sunday at Faith Baptist Church in Mason, where a collection box will then be left. Money can be donated by Venmo at “Mary-Roush-4.”
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.