The California Aggie (Davis, CA) (02.07.13)
University of California, Davis students and best friends Liz Johnson and Sarah Yang founded the university’s Women’s Health Initiative Club in the fall of 2011. The club donated and raised funds for Woodland’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center (SADVC), and taught sex education at several Yolo County schools. Parisa Esfahani, a first-year creative writing major and initiative member, states that, “The Women’s Health [Initiative] Club focuses on informing the community on women’s health-related issues, and offering support to women and girls who have been sexually assaulted.”
Members work with SADVC to volunteer and raise money for the initiative’s events and for the shelter. They also work with CommuniCare, a Davis teen clinic, to train club members in presenting awareness classes in Yolo County middle and high schools on sexually transmitted infections and birth control. Initiative founders Yang and Johnson emphasize that the need for sex education is greatest in Yolo County schools; hence, they want to focus more education efforts there.
Of the 30 club members, three are males. For the spring quarter, the initiative will coordinate an event called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” in which men will walk a mile around the city of Davis in high heels. The public may participate in this event. The national organization Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will sponsor the event by donating high heels in men’s sizes to raise awareness for sexual violence. Initiative member Richard Galvin declares, “I’m planning on getting both the rugby team and my work at the ASUCD Coffee House involved in this event. I’m also hoping to get some of the other sports teams on campus to get involved as well.”
The Women’s Health Initiative coordinated “Baskets of Love” with SADVC in May 2012—at which the women’s fitness program Curves donated lotion, soap, nail polish, and makeup to homeless women on Mother’s Day—and sponsored a clothing drive this past winter quarter for homeless women. Johnson emphasized that the club wants to volunteer to do something good for the community. She declares, “I think we have really started something out of nothing here.”