Hygiene bank supports school community

Creating opportunities for students takes many forms, from tutoring and career fairs to providing them with essential resources. When teacher Julian Beltran and community liaison Maribel Roca realized not all students at the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove had access to hygiene products, they took it upon themselves to solve the problem, and now the school’s hygiene bank is helping their community thrive. 

“Essentially, what we wanted to do was serve the whole student,” Beltran said. “We want them to have a sense of belonging, and the hygiene bank serves what I’m calling the learning community. It’s open to anyone who is a student or is related to a student here—parents, siblings, or guardians have access as well.”

Roca and Beltran worked together to find a way to hand out the supplies without drawing unwanted attention to the students. Their solution? A Google form that parents or guardians can fill out to have free hygiene supplies delivered quietly to their students in class.

“Every Monday I’ll check the form and start filling it up,” Beltran said. “I recently had a student who came from gym to ask for deodorant and had no embarrassment about it. Before, that would have been something that might have been awkward, but we’ve opened up these conversations and let them know that everyone needs hygiene products. We’re going to talk about it and do something about it. That makes us feel really good.”

Beltran and Roca said they have received requests from students who need hygiene products for their siblings at other campuses, and parents have told them they were thankful to get support while they were waiting for a paycheck to come. 

They currently have about 52 families making requests through the Google form, and that does not include the students who come to them directly. Those families can continue to make requests as long as they need support with no questions asked. 

The hygiene bank has turned into a true community effort, Beltran said. Its shelves are stocked thanks to community partnerships, a DonorsChoose campaign, an Amazon Wish List, and contributions from the community. Its impact has been clear.

“We just want everyone to feel confident when it comes to hygiene, whether it’s students, parents, former students, or anyone who’s at the house,” Beltran said. “That’s what matters to us. We just want everyone to feel their best.”

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