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.
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
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.
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.