Miami Palmetto Senior High School’s senior Sofia Sierra is Palmetto’s Silver Knight nominee in Drama. Sierra has already accumulated more than a thousand community service hours, many of those hours come from collaborating with her friend Condoleezza Alexis on their student-run non-profit Bleeding Hearts Across America.
“We worked to make feminine hygiene products less of a luxury and more of a necessity,” she says. “We started it almost two years ago. We stayed consistent as an organization and worked it during the summer and had a lot of drives.”
Feminine hygiene products have increased in costs, making them unaffordable for lower income women.
“Our main goal is to provide opportunities for women on or below the poverty line as well as educating women about their bodies,” she says.
They have been collaborating with Healthy Little Havana, handing out goody bags filled with feminine hygiene products. They also created an accessible period pantry for the women in the area.
“It was a dream to have an accessible period pantry,” she says.
Women can go into the office and pick up the needed supplies.
“Our drives are not limited to menstrual care,” she says. “We also collaborated with Edison Park, providing the school with school supplies.”
They also did a drive to collect supplies after an earthquake devastated Haiti followed by a flood leaving homes in shambles.
After dealing with the necessary paperwork, they concentrated on collecting the products.
“We collected 800 period donation packages each with an inventory of 10 days’ worth of feminine hygiene,” she says. “We put them in little plastic bags so they would remain hygienic.
The bags contained things such as tampons, pads, panty liners, soap, and toothpaste.”
They wore gloves when handling the products. They put them in gallon zip lock bags.
“We had 10 board members distributing,” she says. “After, we stored them in big cardboard boxes to distribute to women on the poverty line.”
Sierra says she believes there is a stigma around feminine hygiene.
“Girls shouldn’t have to hide their pads or tampons,” she says. “We should not be embarrassed. It is a normal thing. It shouldn’t be frowned upon.”
They are working on keeping the organization going even after they graduate. They also hope to expand to other cities and possibly take it worldwide.
Sierra plans to stay in Florida for the first four years of college. After that, she’d like to transfer to an Ivy League university, specifically Yale University.
She’s waiting to hear from the University of Miami, the University of Florida, New York University, the University of Tampa and Barry University. Her major is Pre-Physical Therapy.
“As an aspiring physical therapist, I strive to better the lives of others.”
At school, she participates in drama. She’s been in the drama class all four years.
Before COVID she took private singing lessons and she danced competitively for 10 years.
“During COVID year I stopped private lessons and started pursuing acting.”
This year, she earned two superiors at the district competition and the school was awarded 27 superiors.
“We got the same amount of top honors as the New World Magnet School of the Arts did,” she says. “That’s a big accomplishment given that we aren’t a magnet. I’m excited to go to the States competition.”
This year the drama program is producing two shows, The Spelling Bee and Six.
She’s an inducted Thespian, secretary of the Thespian Honor Society, and president of the Improvisation Club.
She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and vice president of Women of Tomorrow.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld
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