In Other Words: Clothing effort proves 'like a girl' equals amazing

by STEPHANIE FELLENSTEIN | HUDSON MONTHLY EDITOR Published:

What do the words "like a girl" mean? Is it something good or something negative?

Always, by Procter and Gamble, tackled that phrase in its amazingly profound video ad. It uses girls of different ages, sizes and races to answer questions like what does it mean to run like a girl or fight like a girl or throw like a girl. The ad campaign even asked some guys.

If you missed it, try www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

At first, the phrase "like a girl" brought out negative connotations as participants "ran" with their arms flailing, gasping for air, or "fought" by slapping their hands in front of their faces. But then they asked some pint-sized girls, who showed that "like a girl" was a great thing as they ran and threw a ball with all their might.

The video ends with "Let's make #Likeagirl mean amazing things."

Amightygirl.com also is working to empower girls and young women. The site offers suggestions for books, toys, movies and more for babies up to teens. The suggested items have positive messages, showcase strong female role models and encourage girls to follow their dreams.

Looking for examples of "Mighty Girls" closer to home? Check out Hudson's own Clothing Crusade. Hudsonites Beth Binns, Kim Cornacchione, Suzanne Heckroth and Stephanie Sutton began collecting gently-used clothing a couple years ago. Their goal was to get the clothes to the people who need it the most.

They are even working to establish not-for-profit status so the work can continue on long after they retire. The Clothing Crusade recently helped with some big distribution events that coincided nicely with the need for back-to-school clothes.

The crusaders took clothing in sizes 5 to 18 to Good Neighbors in Cuyahoga Falls, where it was distributed to close to 500 people during their three-day, back-to-school event.

The Clothing Crusade also hosted an event at St. Mary Church in connection with the church's Social Outreach Committee which was distributing back-to-school supplies. About 100 more families received clothing there.

I ARRIVED at St. Mary's on a Wednesday afternoon right after the event finished. All of the leftover clothing, shoes and accessories needed to be packed up and returned to the storage facility for the next event. There were clothes everywhere -- covering at least 25 tables.

"This won't take long at all," Sutton said, pointing me and my daughters toward the 2T and under clothing. She wanted it all packed up and ready for the volunteers from Womankind to pick up. Womankind is a free prenatal clinic in the Cleveland area and The Clothing Crusade gave them at least 15 boxes full of baby clothes.

More volunteers arrived, and the clothes started disappearing into bins.

The crusaders are organized. Each table, bin and box are separated and labeled by gender and size -- women's small, women's medium, men's large, etc.

Sutton was right. They know what they're doing and a little over an hour later, the entire room was empty and the contents loaded onto the box truck they rented.

Heckroth -- Sutton got to drive the truck on Monday and Tuesday -- jumped up into the truck like it was a sedan, drove to Stow, down a narrow driveway and backed it in to line up perfectly with the staircase at their storage facility. Less than 30 minutes later, the truck was empty.

See, mighty girls.

The Clothing Crusade is always looking for gently-used clothing. To donate, or to volunteer, visit www. clothingcrusade.com or like them at Facebook.com/clothingcrusade.

They could also really use a permanent space to sort, store and, hopefully one day, offer clothing to families. If anyone has some extra space they don't know what to do with, contact The Clothing Crusade.

The Clothing Crusade -- girls who drive trucks, heave heavy boxes and clothe those in need -- are just one more example of how "like a girl" actually means something amazing.

What does "like a girl" mean to you?

Email: sfellenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4185

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