On March 9, representatives from the Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention gave the female students at Anniston Middle School a gift and a message.
The gift, called In My Bag Period, was a canvas bag filled with feminine hygiene products to help the students prepare for their menstrual cycle.
ASAP’s DREAM leaders, women who work at ASAP, partnered with an Anniston businesswoman, Stefanie Almon, who assembles and sells the kits with the help of her daughter, Cheyenne.
The message the DREAM leaders shared with the students is more important than the gift. They shared messages about goal setting, coping skills, recognizing healthy versus unhealthy relationships, substance misuse and more, according to ASAP director Seyram Selase.
“DREAM is a prevention program created to educate and empower young women in an effort to maintain healthier lifestyles,” he said.
The women of DREAM spent the day at the middle school and spoke to each gym class.
“The girls loved the bags,” said Quiera Lane, a prevention specialist. “They seemed so excited and grateful to have them.”
Almon, who also runs a paint-kit business called Spritz and Splash, added permanent, colored markers into the kits, which allows each student to decorate her bag however she wants. Almon intentionally chose discreet bags that do not have each girl’s name, to help avoid embarrassment. The students can decorate their bag and place it in their locker or in their book bag.
“I think the DREAM program and ASAP give back to the community,” Almon said. “They are allowing young girls to know they are important and valued and that someone cares about them.”
ASAP’s DREAM leaders plan to approach other middle schools, share with the students the bags and the messages of health.
In an effort to teach positive life lessons to young men, ASAP has partnered with the Anniston Fatherhood Initiative to teach them about their health and staying away from substances.
Staff Writer Sherry Kughn: 256-236-1551.