ArkLaTex organization works to distribute personal hygiene products to students in need
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Many students are back in the classroom for the 2022-23 school year. But some students need more than a pencil and notebook to be ready for this year’s lesson plans.
Valencia Jones is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who also started her own organization, called Valencia MHP. She says she focuses on both mental health services and community service.
“We offer a program called ‘Be Blessed Bags,’” she said.
Each semester, the organization will partner with a school to offer full-sized hygiene products to students in need.
“We set up a meeting with the principal, we show up, pass everything out, and bless the students. The principal and the counselor get together, they identify those kids that have those needs. The kids are preselected before we get there. It’s not something that’s publicized and not something that everyone knows about,” Jones explained.
Since the program’s inception in June of 2021, Jones says the organization has served Booker T. Washington and Green Oaks high schools. On Aug. 26, Be Blessed Bags will be distributed to students at Huntington High School.
“When you look at a lot of the larger high schools that are here, they range in the thousands in terms of tenants and students there. It’s too many students for one in-school counselor to pay attention to all of the needs for that,” community activist, Will James, said.
When applied to education, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows that if basic needs, like hygiene, are not met, students will not be able to prioritize their education.
Jones says she plans to extend the program to younger students in middle and elementary schools as well.
Anyone interested in donating to the cause can stop by the offices of the Highland Center Ministries. Jones says there’s a labeled drop-off box there. To reach Jones with questions about the program, click here.
- Feminine pads
- Hand sanitizer
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