Minuteman StudentsFrom left, Jane Pokress, Arlington; Kaytaki Pathak, Arlington; and Ellie Kolakowski, Lancaster, with collected products to be donated regionally.

Since October, three environmental science and technology majors at Minuteman High School have been organizing a community-service project to increase access to menstrual products at their school, local and global communities.

Two of the students, Jane Pokress '25 and Kaytaki Pathak '25, are from Arlington; the third, Ellie Kolakowski '24, is from Lancaster, a school news release said.

The team is currently running a menstrual product drive to increase access to menstrual products in their local community. On Monday, March 6, they began collecting adult diapers, pads and tampons, which they plan to donate to the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston.

They are also hosting an online fundraiser to collect money to be donated to the organization Days for Girls, which helps raise awareness about menstrual health and distributes sustainable products around the world. So far, the team has raised more than $1,500. The fund-raiser is currently active; contributions may be given at this site.

Minuteman High School logo

The students are completing this project soon and plan to present it at the SkillsUSA State Leadership Conference, scheduled to take place in April in Marlboro.

One intended aspect of their participation in the SkillsUSA competition is to positively impact the school. The team conducted an anonymous survey that showed that students believe that there has been very little access to emergency menstrual products on the Minuteman campus, as the only supply could be found outside the nurses’ office.

Through work with their advisor and principal George Clement, they devised a plan to place bins containing products outside selected teachers’ classrooms so as to increase access. Putting products in multiple locations around the school creates a more comfortable, safe and supportive environment for students, the news release said, and it also helps decrease menstrual disruptions during the school day. The team is now counting the rate at which products are being taken and plan to include this data in an analysis of the project’s effectiveness.

Minuteman is an award-winning regional career and technical high school and continuing education institution that integrates robust academic and technical learning. As an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), Minuteman challenges all students to aspire to their full potential, accelerate their learning and achieve success in the 21st-century global community. Located in Lexington in a new state-of-the-art facility, Minuteman’s member towns are Acton, Arlington, Bolton, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Needham and Stow.

This news announcement was published Thursday, March 23, 2023, based on information from Kathleen Bouchard of Minuteman. YourArlington volunteer Kim Haase prepared it for publication.