Assistance League of Northern Virginia has provided toiletry items to students at selected elementary schools for many years. Since the pandemic, we have expanded that effort and provide toiletry kits to older students at several schools. The kits contain a hairbrush and comb, soap, shampoo, toothbrush & toothpaste, and deodorant. In January, our members packed about 300 toiletry kits that were delivered to 3 schools to be used as part of their Hygiene Curriculum. Two schools had instructors who could teach the needed lessons about the importance of good hygiene particularly during puberty. The third school needed an instructor. Luckily, one of our own marvelous members, Debbie D., a registered nurse, was willing and able to provide the instruction. She kept 170 fifth and sixth grade students interested and engaged in discussions about ‘good hygiene from head to toe,’ and used the items in the kit to illustrate her lessons. She presented various scenarios and asked the students which showed good or poor hygiene. Students also asked questions of their own. As the students returned to their classrooms, they were given their own hygiene kits to take home. We are incredibly grateful to Debbie for preparing such wonderful lessons for these students.
We know that both students and teachers appreciated the kits and the hygiene lessons. An instructor at a school that received toiletry kits last fall provided feedback recently on how important they were. She noted that the school offers hygiene instruction in connection with its Family Life Curriculum, which covers a range of topics including changes during puberty. She reported that having the toiletry kits to give to students was a double blessing. The kits helped relieve some of the students’ anxiety and also relieved parents of having to purchase those essential items. The teacher stated that Assistance League “has supported our students and families in so many amazing ways over the years and providing the hygiene packs is just one more generous donation that helps to support our students, so they are able to come to school every day feeling good and ready to learn.” Receiving such terrific feedback reinforces our members’ commitment to continue serving the most vulnerable in our community.