Hygiene On Hand For Disadvantaged Youth

Primary health and wellbeing is something we may take for granted. Not this sector though.

The importance of hygiene kits for underprivileged people cannot be overstated.

This was made abundantly clear at a recent event sponsored by the Positive Impact Community Resource Center. Kits provided by this and other 7 non-profit centers, provide the basics that are so essential for those who don’t have access to such items.

Positive Impact Community Resource Center sponsored the event. There were over 70 people in attendance. Ages range from 13-17.

Although naturally everyone without resources is affected, this showcase was aimed at youngsters from ages 13-17.

They also teach teenagers the role that hygiene plays in their everyday lives, information that may not have received elsewhere. It was illustrated that a simple act of washing hands can provide a barrier against infection.

Cuts and scrapes should also be attended to, as these could also become infected. Any infection, the teenagers were told, could lead to serious problems, and even hospitalization.

Children who grew up with a foundation in good hygiene would naturally have carried this through to their teenage years, but those from a disadvantaged background would more than likely not have had basic training. That is why the input from sources such as the Positive Impact Community Resource Center is so essential.

Challenging development issues

One of the most challenging development issues in this demographic is menstrual hygiene. Women and girls often cannot access the very basics such as sanitary products, or even clean ablution areas offering toilets, showers, and soap.

This demographic is one that should be monitored carefully in this regard because these people cannot afford sanitary products. Many have coped with using unhygienic methods to deal with menstrual issues, resulting in infections that have not been treated.  You can see how problem upon problem can confound issues.

Menstrual hygiene issues are being targeted by many social enterprise organizations and they are aggressively being handled for the very reason they have been so badly neglected in the past. There is also a massive educational push regarding menstruation and contraception, topics which were never discussed, but need to be ‘brought out into the open’ as it were.

Basic personal hygiene habits for teenagers are also being taught. Body odor, bad breath, and basic dental hygiene, which should have been dealt with in adolescence but more than likely wasn’t, is something that youngsters also don’t like to discuss, but obviously, needs to be.

Adolescents should be taught that their bodies undergo many changes during the teenage years, and their personal hygiene will have to keep pace. These youngsters also need to be schooled in mental health, and the importance of confidence which comes from sound hygienic habits. If a teenage boy or girl look and smell good, they are more likely to make friends and blend in well with peer groups.

Peer group pressure

Peer group pressure, an increasingly urgent issue that even youngsters and parents from privileged backgrounds find difficult to discuss, must be addressed. This pressure can leave disadvantaged teenagers devastated. It’s bad enough that they must figure out where they will get food to eat, or how they are going to keep themselves clean, with also having to deal with depression and anxiety.

Many in this group end in in gangs for safety and confidence reasons as bullying is rife and they have no way to figure out how they are going to defend themselves. Mental health counseling here is just as important as personal hygiene. What happens in cases of gang violence, which could result in hospitalization? How are these costs going to be covered, and what will happen after treatment?

Personal health and hygiene, then, is a massive area that is luckily receiving much-needed attention from many welfare groups across the US. Treating mind and body issues as one is an educational reach initiative that is gaining momentum and strength. There are numerous camps and seminars that have taken place and scheduled for the future in many areas.

Washing and ironing of clothes are also something outreach centers are involved in – also a vital part of personal hygiene.

Thankfully the educators have realized that it is lack of personal hygiene that in many cases leads to bullying and intimidation from more privileged peers. Once this issue has been addressed, it is one obstacle less that the teen must face in his or her future.

It's also great to know that personal hygiene kits are available from centers such as Convenience Kits International. These kits, which are distributed at various centers contain items such as basics for hospital admission, basic shampoo and deodorant, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrushes and combs, band-aids, razors, and shaving cream. These kits are available at various outreach centers and for veterans and the homeless.

Many of the teens that have been helped would have been at a terrible disadvantage when seeking employment. Thankfully, the counseling and product help that has been given by the many that are involved in outreach for these teens have brought invaluable help that will stand them in good stead.