A Lancaster teenager is being recognized nationally for her efforts in supporting women in struggling communities.
After years of volunteering to help the homeless and underserved families in DFW, 17-year-old Taylor McCowan said she noticed something: Women and girls often weren't given or didn't have any access to feminine hygiene products.
Inspired by this, she founded The Confident Girl, a project aimed at ending period poverty across North Texas and beyond.
"When I originally started the project, I did research behind period poverty. I learned that one in four women face it, especially in schools and in more urban environments," she said.
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McCowan, who is a junior at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Grand Prairie, said she originally began her efforts to address period poverty as a community service project for her Girl Scout Silver Award in 2019.
Then in 2021, she started collecting supplies and within the last several months, she has delivered 250 special period kits to community centers and schools across the Metroplex.
Each kit has a meaningful message on the front and is discreet, so it can be carried like a small satchel filled with all the items the person may need.
"Like tampons, white tissue, deodorant, lotions, little things that will keep them smelling good as well as feeling good. Because that's the name -- Confident Girl. Making them feel confident," said McCowan.
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Since starting a GoFundMe in February to support her mission, McCowan already raised more than $15,000.
"I just didn't know that I was going to have the amount of support that I have now and that people were going to see it as like a bigger issue. And like I just thankful for where I am today and I'm thankful for all the people that I can help," she said.
Now, the crowdsourcing site is recognizing her as a GoFundMe Hero, a program that searches for people doing extraordinary things around the nation.
"We were so inspired by her because she's only 17 years old, and yet she's addressing a very real and important and systemic problem in her community. And a problem that affects the entire country," said Kelsea Little, head of brand storytelling at GoFundMe. "It's just not every day that you met a teenager who is willing to spend their free time on making our community a better place."
McCowan said she wants to turn her project into a nonprofit one day soon.
"I can continue this project forward. I can keep making a difference. I can do so much more with it now," she said of what's next for her.
You can help her make that goal a reality as she continues to distribute period kits to women and girls.
For more information on donating or getting involved, click here.