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Today, we celebrate a significant commitment from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to respond to girls’ needs with an allocation of $1.4 million in combined funds to center the needs of girls and gender-expansive youth in Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

This was a truly collaborative effort, informed by Alliance for Girls’ youth-led research on the needs of girls during COVID-19 and modeled after our successful advocacy in Oakland Unified School District earlier this year to distribute period products across the city. With AFG members the Young Women’s Freedom Center, the Office of Women’s Policy, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, YWCA Silicon Valley, and YOALI at the helm, and many of you showing up and showing out – WE made this happen.

Addressing Period Poverty (image: drawing of 3 girls and gender-expansive youth standing in front of school lockers)

Alliance for Girls worked with the county’s Division of Equity and Social Justice and the Office of Women’s Policy to produce a comprehensive analysis of existing inequities to accessing period products. The report highlighted that 63,168 women, girls, and menstruating individuals are experiencing period poverty in the county.

On December 15th, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve $1 million from county reserves to close some of the gaps identified from the report, by making menstrual products available at schools and community centers. We thank Supervisor Cindy Chavez for introducing these items to the board.

In addition, the Board of Supervisors are moving forward with full support on a $400,000 contract for When Young Moms Thrive, an innovative, one-year pilot program by Alliance for Girls and Young Women’s Freedom Center to provide financial support to more than 100 young mothers experiencing financial hardship between ages 12-26 in East San Jose and Gilroy. Along with direct cash assistance, young moms will receive technology support, job training, and childcare. This will be voted for final approval in February budget hearings.

Young moms will also be trained to carry out youth-led participatory action research and advocacy projects, using their collective and personal experiences to identify gaps in support services and barriers to accessing social support and childcare. Through the completion of the program, participants will be part of a network of young moms trained and committed to effecting systems change for themselves and their peers, with concrete policy proposals that will inform County leadership, policymakers, and service providers.

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Amid the global pandemic, the unique needs of girls and gender-expansive youth, particularly Black girls and girls of color, are growing more urgent by the day. It is critical that regional and statewide leaders take the lead of Santa Clara County and invest in gender- and culturally responsive services so that girls and gender-expansive youth have what they need to be safe, healthy and thriving.

Learn more about our efforts through When Girls Thrive, our research and advocacy initiative that brings together advocates, educators, policymakers and agency leaders to put the needs of girls and gender-expansive youth front and center as California navigates this pandemic and prepares for a post-COVID reality.

In this pivotal time, let’s build systems that liberate girls and transgender and gender-expansive youth, and by extension, all of us.

In community,
Alliance for Girls

*”Girls” refers to gender-expansive youth (cis girls, trans girls, non-binary youth, gender non-conforming youth, gender queer youth and any girl-identified youth).