Empower’s Third Annual Women’s Shelter Drive


Ainsley Miles, Staff Writer

Sophia Harkins, president of Empower, makes her way down the hallway, pushing a squeaky-wheeled cart topped with the donations collected for that day. It is a Tuesday, and the cart is stacked high with tampons, the item of the day. She is on her way to the locker room, where there are boxes waiting for her to sort the items.

The students at Goffstown High School rallied together from February 12 to the 23 in order to collect donations for the YWCA shelter in Manchester. In order to entice people to make more donations, Empower is assigning Winter Carnival points if someone donates a regular item, or more points if they donate an “item of the day”. This year, the item-specific days were “Maternity Monday”, “Tampon Tuesday”, “Dollar Wednesday”, “Toiletry Thursday”, and “First Aid Friday”.

Since the drive started 3 years ago, Empower has worked hard to provide donations for “any woman who is in an abusive relationship or feels like they are unsafe living in their own house” Sophia says. “They can come to the YWCA in Manchester and seek refuge”. Mrs. Galamaga, Empower’s co-advisor with Mrs. Audley, added that the donations benefit Emily’s Place specifically, which is supported by the YWCA.

The women’s shelter drive is the largest event Empower hosts all year, and it certainly has the biggest impact on the community. Other events that the club runs are the Women’s Panel, hosting GHS alumni Abby Cook to talk about sexual assault on college campuses, and recognizing faculty and staff in the school monthly for their devotion to being positive role models and empowering the students. Many women who go to the shelter are allowed a much better standard of living thanks to the drive. Emily’s Place helps these women get a leg up while they are stuck in an unwanted situation.

This is a huge event to run, and Empower is extremely grateful for Goffstown’s Life Skills program. Mrs. Galamaga works with Carol Smith, the Vocational Director, to assign the students jobs such as collecting the items. She notes that “collecting the donations and sorting them as well as delivering them to the YWCA requires people power and can be time consuming”, so it is abundantly beneficial that Carol Smith is willing to work with the club to help successfully run the drive. Running the drive would not go nearly as smoothly as it does without the help of the Life Skills program.

Mrs. Galamaga remarks that the most rewarding thing about the drive is “going to the YWCA to deliver the check ($) and all the donations. It is great to see how appreciative they are for what our students have done”. She also mentioned that the YWCA honored Empower founder, Eileen Savinelli, at their annual Empowerment breakfasts for her role in starting the drive.

This year, Empower raised over $840 as well as dozens of boxes filled with donated items. Despite the ever-lingering need for donations, both Sophia and Mrs. Galamaga  agree that the drive helps the shelter immensely. However, the need of Emily’s Place is not entirely met with the proceeds of the drive. On their website, the shelter has a list if their most needed items. You can donate straight to the website, visit the shelter, or contact Mrs. Galamaga, Mrs. Audley, or Sophia Harkins if there is more that you’d would like to contribute!

As a closing remark, Mrs. Galamaga added that “if we could get the community involved, that would be wonderful… the students who have been in the club have done amazing things and we feel that the more people get involved the more we can do!”