The idea to form PADS was prompted by a once homeless woman speaking at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. She told my daughter and her classmates about her experience, and how having sanitary products was one of her basic needs, while living in the homeless shelters. Her story touched my daughter Carmen who shared the story with me. Having these basic hygiene products is something we take for granted.
I grew up in East Cleveland, Ohio, and watched it deteriorate before my eyes over the years. Where there were once pharmacies, grocery stores, malt shops, donut shops, clothing stores, and banks now stands check cashing and pay day loan businesses, corner stores that sell liquor and lottery tickets, bars, cell phone stores, etc. The streets where we played softball, and tag, are now gloomy and filled with pot holes. The homes that had manicured lawns and front porches where we sat and had lemonade are now boarded up and abandoned. My parents still live on the same street in East Cleveland, Ohio in a house that they own. Two other families remain on that street from my childhood. By choice or circumstance they remain in that community, and still attend the churches, participate in the community meetings held by the mayor, shop, and meet with other seniors to play cards have a hot lunch and socialize even though the main Senior citizen building has recently closed due to lack of funding.
As an African American female, and the first in my family to attend college our family story and the story of a once homeless woman drives me to become a community leader. I have the desire to improve our lives and the lives of people around us. (For the last 22 years Delesia has lived in Cleveland's Fairfax community with her husband, where they raised their 2 daughters.)