CINCINNATI — Brittani Gray wasn’t expecting to be called “Pad Lady.”
As the founder of Girls Health Period, Gray’s mission is to eliminate girls’ absenteeism in school due to their menstrual cycle.
Gray's organization helps donate pads and underwear to more than 30 schools in the Cincinnati area. And Gray delivers them herself to each school up to four times a year.
“They say, ‘Oh, the Pad Lady is here,’” Gray said. “So that makes me so happy to hear, because I’m like, I didn’t think I was going to get this nickname, but I’m so glad that you are actually talking about it and saying it out loud.”
Gray, a former Cincinnati Public Schools teacher, started the organization last year when she noticed an overwhelming number of girls didn’t have the menstrual products they needed.
“Kids that didn’t have products were using towels, socks, one-ply paper towels that are in the bathroom, plugging themselves with that,” Gray said. “It becomes a hygiene and sanitation issue and that to me was really when I became distraught.”
Girls Health Period also helps create safe spaces within schools so students can feel comfortable talking about their periods.
“It’s a taboo conversation; when you hear about the menstrual cycle, you go straight to sexual health, and it’s not that piece,” Gray said.
Antwan Lewis, principal of Hartwell School, said the supplies have been a blessing because it allows his students to focus on their education.
“It’s all about the girls having their confidence, so knowing they could have a safe place at school and that there are people here to talk to about growing into a young woman and also just feeling safe about it means a lot,” Lewis said.
Click here for more information about the organization and how to donate.