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2022 Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Jasmyne Jack, 25, (Muscogee (Creek) Nation), of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, has a dream to provide homeless or struggling Native American youth and young adults with free hygiene kits and period packs.
“My dream idea is called “Street Outreach” which would allow homeless or struggling Native American youth, ages 12- 24, to access period packs (menstruation supplies) and/or hygiene kits, as needed,” says Jasmyne. (The period packs have the following items in the bags: pads, tampons, panty liners, wipes, and education about menstrual health. The items included in the hygiene kits are: shampoo, body wash, hair brush/comb, lotion, deodorant, tooth brush, tooth paste, and mouth wash.)
“What sparked my idea of this project is the program I am currently working for, Mvskoke Nation Youth Services,” she explained. “The program performs a lot of advocating and resources to Native American youth. For example, at the current time, MNYS has a resource available to youth known as, “Snag Bags” which are little bags that contain sexual health resources like external and internal condoms, dental dams, lubricant, and sexual health education.” Jasmyne was inspired to create her Street Outreach project when she received a call from one of her nieces asking if she could buy some pads and other toiletry items for her and her sisters “because her mom simply couldn’t afford it at the time.
“Hearing this request from my niece took me back to when I had the same struggles as a younger person, and it really made me ponder on how I could help not only my family but other youth who struggle with access to hygiene products.” Jasmyne said that while she is sure there are other agencies which offer free street outreach items, she does not “know any that specifically target Native American youth.”
In addition to offering these tangible resources for youth, she says she would also like to host health and wellness education workshops, awareness events, and social media campaigns. The period packs and hygiene kits will also include their own health and wellness education information, the MNYS program contact information, a link to the website and social media pages for ongoing resource information and connections.
Jasmyne says her greatest strengths is her ability to be open-minded, her compassion for others, her ability to listens and think through important decisions, carefully weighing all the options. “I often teach Native American youth this as well by encouraging them to see past what they want in the moment and think of the bigger picture. I love being able to hear and see their stories playout in front of me. “It is really fascinating how Native American youth want to credit their mentors for their successes when in reality, they are the ones who do all the hard work.”
Jasmyne says her project fits into this year’s Dreamstarter theme of Social Action in hopes of making an impact on Native American youth. “I want Native American youth and their families to become successful and thriving adults. I want to help alleviate some of the stress by connecting them to these “Street Outreach” items.
“Every single person has the potential to reach their goals and achieve their dreams. I want to ensure that the Native American youth know they have support in getting health and hygiene items. Items that often fail to be addressed or considered as an obstacle.”