Hello! I am Sophie Draluck, the founder of Cycle Forward and a current senior at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois. I came up with the idea for Cycle Forward when I read an article about the link between school absenteeism among teenage girls and the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products in Uganda and other African countries. I saw how a single problem was creating big ripple effects that deeply affected the lives of so many girls. Suddenly, this basic necessity for those who menstruate started to seem not basic at all, and I realized that people in our own country might face similar challenges and difficulties in obtaining menstrual hygiene products.
The simple truth is that tampons and pads are expensive, averaging around $8 a box at my local Walgreens and CVS, they continue to be taxed as a luxury, and women in need are not even permitted to buy them with SNAP cards. Yet, these are essential items that women cannot leave the house without. Access to sanitary products enables women to live their lives, and I wanted to do what I could to help ensure access for those in need, which is how Cycle Forward was born. I identified a lack of availability of essential menstrual hygiene products in my own community, and in the greater Chicago area. I recently had the opportunity to expand the reach of Cycle Forward by working with a women’s shelter in London, and am hoping to expand in other states in the US in the near future.
In addition to founding and running Cycle Forward, I am an active member of the student body at Highland Park High School, a 2019 HERlead fellow, and a part-time poet! I am also passionate about international exchange to cultivate understanding of those that are different than oneself.