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As the only Townsend Harris High School club exclusively focused on the empowerment of women, Glamour Gals took the lead in fundraising for Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness. Coining the term “Month of Awareness,” the Glamour Gals have allocated October 5-16 to raise money for Breast Cancer research, and October 19-30 to raise money for domestic abuse victims.
Throughout the month, volunteers from the club are actively asking the student body for donations during the school day. The Glamour Gals will give the donations collected from the weeks of breast cancer awareness to the Susan G. Komen foundation, and the donations collected from the weeks of domestic violence awareness to “Put a Nail In It,” an organization that aims to end domestic violence and bring safety and guidance to survivors.
Humanities teacher and Glamour Gals club advisor Raquel Chung first thought of the idea to bring a “Month of Awareness” to THHS because of the Glamour Gals organization’s mission to help women in need. Ms. Chung said, “The mission of the Glamour Gals is to provide companionship and comfort to elderly women who experience loneliness and neglect. Breast cancer is just one of the concerns of our elderly female population, so it makes sense to offer our support. Breast Cancer Awareness month is recognized nationally; as a club that looks out for women, it is important that we do this as well.”
The club’s co-presidents, seniors Rebecca Kwon and Lena Kung, were eager to take the project to the next level. Lena noted, “October is both Breast Cancer and Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. We realized that our school doesn’t do anything to raise awareness and we wanted to change that.”
The Glamour Gals also spread the message of awareness by visiting the classes of Health and Physical Education teacher Maria Assante. “We thought that taking this fundraiser to the classroom environment would be effective because more than just raising money to donate, we wanted to raise awareness to the student body,” Rebecca stated. “By going to health classrooms in specific, it didn’t take away time from a lesson, but rather, it supplemented it.”
Ms. Assante agreed, “I think awareness and education are crucial to combating these two possibly preventable issues in our society. We can lower breast cancer rates through early education and detection. We can try to eliminate domestic abuse in our society by educating our young people and empowering them to take control of their lives.”
Approximately one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast cancer is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In the U.S., almost twenty people per minute (about ten million people per year) are physically abused by an intimate partner. About one in three women and one in four men are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Rebecca stressed the importance of raising awareness of such issues. “America has the technology and the science to diagnose breast cancer, yet we are failing to make use of these resources. Awareness needs to be raised so that no child has to suffer the loss of another mother, grandmother or even father. Domestic violence is not something that can be justified. It needs to be brought to justice and I think everyone needs to feel safe and loved.”
The Glamour Gals are hopeful towards the success of Month of Awareness. Lena stated “We want students to realize that these are real issues and that they can happen to anyone. I believe this month of awareness will spread the word, especially for domestic abuse. This is an opportunity for both students and adults to realize that with even $1, they’re making a difference.”
The club ultimately finds it important for students of THHS to help fight for these causes. As Ms. Chung believes, “We all have women in our lives that we love. Part of the Ephebic Oath states to never leave our city any less but rather greater than we found it, and I think the Month of Awareness does just that.”