New Paltz High School’s Peer Leadership Club recently introduced Teen à la Carte – formerly known as the Teen Closet – where all students can go for personal hygiene necessities they may need or want, such as deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, bodywash, toothbrushes, socks, floss, menstrual products, water, combs, hair spray, shaving cream, stain-removal sticks and more. The products, located on a cart outside of the Health classroom, are easy to access and free of charge.
Peer Leadership Club members Ella Constable and Cleo Verderosa, in Grade 12, have been particularly involved with implementing the cart. Both said that they soon recognized that it was important to destigmatize using the cart by broadening the concept of “need” to include situational need as well.
Several other members of the Peer Leadership Club joined Constable and Verderosa and visited all of the school’s Social Studies classes to make students aware of the cart’s existence and to spread the word that the resource is available to anyone with an immediate need. “We explained to the classes that anyone can take from it – like, if you come to school one day with bad breath, you can come to get a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste or mouthwash,” explained Constable.
“If you are on your way to practice and need to put your hair in a ponytail, you can come to grab a hair tie,” Verderosa added. “Teachers or anyone in the building are also welcome to take it from it.”
The girls also suggested that anyone feeling too shy to take an item off the cart can always ask a friend to retrieve it. Since the classroom outreach began, they said, the cart has begun receiving regular visitors, noting that lip balm is a hot-ticket item.
Peer Leadership Club advisor and Health teacher Shannan Magnetico said the initiative is extremely meaningful to the Cub members and others in the school community. “One teacher’s daughter had a birthday party and asked for her gifts to be items to donate for the cart,” Magnetico recalled.
Magnetico said that they are currently accepting donations of brand-new personal hygiene items, as well as individually wrapped snacks, socks, underwear and sweats or leggings. To donate, please contact Magnetico at email@example.com or call the high school’s main office at (845 256-4100.