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Kindness: Changing the Narrative – EP. 120

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Dana Marlowe was an average suburban mom when a casual conversation changed the trajectory of her life. Now she runs an international not for profit, I Support The Girls, and provides homeless women and girls with much needed bras and feminine hygiene products. Kindness changes the conversation. The Brave Files Podcast.

TENACIOUS • ACCIDENTIAL• FORTUITOUS

Dana Marlowe

Top Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for the help of experts.
  • Surround yourself with people who support and push you to do your best.
  • Make sure you’re driving change, even if in small ways.
  • Keep doing your best to change the narrative, keep going, even if you’re unsure of yourself.

Show Notes:

Four little words …

“Homeless women need bras”

When Dana Marlowe heard these words, her entire life shifted. Just four, simple words sent her 0on a life-changing journey. 

In July 2015, Dana decided to start exercising and eating healthier. As a result, she lost 35 pounds. One day when she was leaving for work, her husband lovingly said to her “your bras aren’t supporting you in any direction.” Realizing he was right, Dana headed to a local lingerie boutique. She was officially on the hunt for new lingerie. Something that would support her in every direction, this time.

Now, if you are a person who wears bra you already know that this is no easy task! Bra shopping, much like swimsuit, and jeans shopping is often a challenging and humiliating experience. Fortunately for Dana, she had the time. Money and new figure to make the experience a little more pleasant. 

While casually chatting with the boutique stylist Dana asked what she should do with old bras. The stylist replied, “Homeless women need bras.”

A fire is ignited

This statement got Dana fired up and she started thinking about a way to help. After some quick research, she found an article about a shelter that was specifically requesting donations of bras and menstrual hygiene products.  She instantly went to her Facebook page and posted that she was trying to support a local shelter.

And then … BAM!

This simple request turned into something extraordinary. In fact, Dana describes it as an explosion. She realized that kindness changes the narrative. Many women responded, and together they ended up donating over  1,000 bras and 7,000 menstrual hygiene products to that same shelter.  She says it was the wildly positive response and that four-letter sentence “Homeless women need bras” has forever altered the trajectory of her life and her global non-profit,  I Support The Girls, was born.

Dana Marlowe was an average suburban mom when a casual conversation changed the trajectory of her life. Now she runs an international not for profit, I Support The Girls, and provides homeless women and girls with much needed bras and feminine hygiene products. Kindness changes the conversation. The Brave Files Podcast.

How the bra fairy helps her community

In giving back to her community, Dana’s NPO works with social services and public schools in the Washington area as well as the department of public health to provide materials to homeless women.  Although she originally operated solely from Washington, “hearing from women like Crystal who hadn’t had a new bra in 9 years”  made Dana realize that “I support the girls” was much bigger than Washington and that they needed to expand. And expand they did!

Since Dana started in 2o15, the size and reach of “I support the girls” has grown exponentially to the point where they now have about 54 affiliate networks all over the world. She and her team continue to empower women to collect and distribute these essential items all over the world. And in one 12-month period, they pumped out over 100,000 menstrual hygiene products to the 13 lowest income schools as identified by the Chicago department of public schools.

But she doesn’t do all the work alone; she’s surrounded by amazing people. Dana is enthusiastic about her support system. She claims that her husband, children, family, and her team are very supportive. She says it's because of their support that she can continue to empower other women all over.

Here is what they share on their website …

Through an international network of Affiliates, I Support the Girls collects and distributes essential items, including bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products, allowing women and folx experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress to stand tall with dignity.

Around the globe, they’re helping girls and women experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic violence, victims of sex trafficking, refugees, and evacuees affected by natural disasters. Here's how we're restoring dignity to hundreds of thousands of women

Dana Marlowe was an average suburban mom when a casual conversation changed the trajectory of her life. Now she runs an international not for profit, I Support The Girls, and provides homeless women and girls with much needed bras and feminine hygiene products. Kindness changes the conversation. The Brave Files Podcast.

Periods don’t stop for pandemics

Even during the current global health crisis, Dana has continued to support homeless women and girls! She wrote this beautiful piece,  for The New York Times. 

I Support The Girls has also been featured in USA Today, and Dana was recently featured on episode 4 of  Amazon Primes new docuseries “Everyday Heroes.”

Dana, a multitalented superwoman!

Dana is a self-proclaimed nerd who owns and runs her own business called Accessibility Partners. Her company helps large federal agencies and Fortune 500 corporations make their websites, mobile applications, and software applications usable for people with disabilities. Um, that’s really freaking cool! Even more amazing is the fact that 85% of Dana’s team is made up of people with disabilities. We told you she was a superwoman and kindness really does change the narrative.

 

Giving is Good:

Dana describes Emma’s Torch as an organization she cannot rave about enough. It’s a non-profit named after Emma Lazarus who wrote the poem for the statue of liberty. They empower immigrants, refugees, asylees, and human trafficking survivors with culinary training including catering and in-kitchen experience.

They also provide folks with ESL classes and interview preparations so that they can more easily find jobs and settle into their new communities.

The Brave Files is doing a drive for I Support The Girls!

You are welcome to mail your new or used bras (all kinds: sports bra, maternity, nursing, training, bralette, mastectomy camisole, binders, underwire), new underwear of all sizes with tags, and any sealed maxi-pads, or tampons to the following address: I Support the Girls Attention: Dana Marlowe P.O. Box 2736 Wheaton, Maryland 20915 Thank you so much. Please feel free to also email us at Info@iSupportTheGirls.org with any questions.

Dana Marlowe was an average suburban mom when a casual conversation changed the trajectory of her life. Now she runs an international not for profit, I Support The Girls, and provides homeless women and girls with much needed bras and feminine hygiene products. Kindness changes the conversation. The Brave Files Podcast.
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About Your Host:
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
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