Alumna Lynette Medley is a chronic disruptor. Medley founded No More Secrets Mind Body Spirit, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides free menstrual products to menstruators in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. When she saw her community struggling, she disrupted the norm and the stigma and built an organization to save it. “There is a lot going on in our community: menstrual insecurity, period poverty, a lack of conversations about consent and bodily autonomy. We can change that,” she said.
For nearly five years, Medley and her daughter had been making roughly 80 deliveries per week, giving six-month supplies of products to each menstruator in the home. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they saw their weekly deliveries jump to upwards of 275 per week. Another issue that the pandemic made apparent is that period poverty isn’t only the inability to access menstrual products, but also waste management services and functioning toilets. And with many public restrooms closed during the pandemic, community members didn’t have a place to go for sanitary conditions. Medley knew she had to do something.
“We asked other organizations for help, but we didn’t get any because everybody thinks this is an issue only experienced in third world countries; it can’t be happening in the United States.” In October 2020, Medley started a GoFundMe campaign to crowdfund the space. The community support was overwhelming, raising over $10,000.
In February 2021, just four months after they started fundraising, they opened The SPOT Period, the nation’s first menstrual hub and wellness center. The SPOT, which stands for Safety Programming for Optimal Transformation, is a 2,500 square foot facility, where community members have access to free menstrual products, toilets, running water, electricity, computers, wi-fi, education and other resources. “We saw a deficit, and we took real action to address it,” Medley said.