Pictured: Ambassador Girl Scout Megan Wang with parcels of donated diapers. Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

nshaffer@timespublications.com

Ambassador Girl Scout Megan Wang of Thousand Oaks has earned her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast with a project she created to help mothers in need.

“Motherhood Matters” focused on providing diapers for families while simultaneously distributing information on mental health resources, particularly those related to postpartum depression. 

While volunteering at Manna Food Bank, Wang, now a junior at Westlake High School, found that many young mothers requested diapers — which often weren’t available.

“One mom mentioned that she was always worrying about having enough diapers and that she was unable to remain employed due to the cost of childcare,” Wang said. “My experience volunteering at Manna Food Bank opened my eyes to how financial need impacts new mothers.”

study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nationally, one in eight women experience postpartum anxiety or depression. One factor that can contribute to this is financial stress, particularly the difficulty of providing necessities, such as diapers, for a family.

Wang began researching postpartum depression and compiling resources related to maternal mental health. In addition, she arranged partnerships with childcare centers Camp Amgen and Horizon Hills and the Birch Family Birthing Center to solicit donations of diapers. She created flyers with infographics and tear-off “take what you need” strips to display at these locations, which provided contact information for mental health resources and relevant statistics. 

Donated diapers were sorted by size and packaged into parcels of 20, along with a slip of paper with a QR code that when scanned led to an educational video Wang created on postpartum depression. The diapers were given to the Manna Food Bank. All told, Wang collected and packaged nearly 3,700 donated diapers.

“My project aims to let mothers know that they are not alone and that it’s okay to ask for help, whether it be getting diapers from the food bank or reaching out for mental health resources,” Wang said.

For more information on the Motherhood Matters project, visit www.girlscoutsccc.org/en/our-council/news/2020/girl_scout_organizes.html.