Young nonprofit founder, Fiona Greenough, is changing the world “one tampon at a time.”
By Leigh Ann Root
Unavoidable things happen in life. What also happens — through kindness, awareness and determination — is the development of a great kid. Fiona Greenough, 17, of Meriden, N.H., who founded It Happens. when she was 16, is the latest Kid Stuff GreatKids Award recipient. The mission of It Happens. is to provide women and girls of the Upper Valley with necessary feminine hygiene products.
How did it happen?
Greenough began her efforts in August 2016 with a goal of donating $100 worth of feminine hygiene goods to the Upper Valley Haven every month. She had received a small inheritance from her grandmother and, wanting to do something meaningful after her grandmother’s passing, began to explore local charities. After putting some into a college savings account, she had $100 left to donate.
Greenough reflected on her life and the things that she couldn’t live without. Feminine products came to her mind. The need is worldwide and often overlooked. Says Greenough, “Traditionally, when people seek to better their own community, they provide food. However, feminine products target a specific demographic; they’re not always thought of as…as important. For the betterment and empowerment of women, I decided to support the struggling women in my community by targeting this specific need.”
The harsh reality
When she delivered that first $100 worth of feminine products (with the help of her mom and numerous coupons), Greenough was blown away by the gratitude shown by volunteers and employees at The Haven. “I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and realized that my job was far from finished,” Greenough said. She learned how some single mothers go without these products just so they can feed their children and many teenage girls go without them all together.
This reality within her community struck Greenough hard. This would be her charitable mission. She says, “On the ride home from The Haven, I began planning It Happens. and decided that I was going to change the world, one tampon at time.” When she got home that day, she created a Facebook page and began reaching out, asking for modest donations of one dollar.
In the first year, Greenough received overwhelming support from her church and school communities. She always reached for her goal, raising $100 worth of feminine supplies almost every month. “When I announced my mission at church, almost everyone gave me what they had in their pockets on that day. It was truly remarkable,” she says.
Greenough’s high school principal supported her cause. “I was able to put out a box for donations and an immense outpouring of generosity came from the student body and staff members,” she says. The Progressive Political Activist Club supported It Happens. by placing donation boxes at locations throughout the Upper Valley. They collected products and cash donations worth hundreds of dollars.
At times it’s been a challenge to raise funds and awareness. Many community members, aware that the need is constant, give regularly. “To better your community is one of the most rewarding things that person can do. After dropping off donations, I feel amazing,” she says. She is inspired by her parents, supportive and wonderful role models. “They truly believe that I can do whatever I want to do and that I’ll be successful at it, if I try hard enough.”
Greenough’s friend Rachel Grohbrugge, 17, of Grantham, N.H., describes the It Happens. founder as “one of the most positive, inspiring people I know. Every time I see her she is positive and energetic. If I ever have to vent or complain, she is always there to turn my negative into a positive.”
Greenough describes herself as politically active and not afraid to contribute her opinion, passionately and respectfully, to a conversation. Her grandmother, Jean Greenough of Chatham, Mass., says, “Fiona is a very inclusive person. She embraces diversity and promotes tolerance whenever she sees an opportunity. She’s always been a very caring and thoughtful person.”
Susan Gregory-Davis, co-pastor at Meriden Congregational Church in Meriden, N.H., foresees no end to this young woman’s altruism. “Fiona has demonstrated her spirit-filled commitment — in so many ways — to helping our world be a more just, loving and beautiful place. Fiona will continue to make extraordinary contributions to others and to our society throughout her lifetime; initiating and bringing about change not only individually but also systemically…not only locally but also nationally and globally,” she says.
Greenough plans to attend a four-year university and major in a community service related area of study. When not donating her time to her charity, she performs in Lebanon High School dramas and musicals and in the North Country Community Theatre Teen productions. When talking about future plans for It Happens., she says she want to spread the organization over a larger region and make more of a difference for women in not only the Upper Valley but everywhere.
Kid Stuff is thrilled to add Fiona Greenough to the GreatKids family of outstanding young people making a positive difference in their communities. “Whatever dream you have, just go for it. It’s less daunting once you realize what you’re capable of,” says Greenough. Wise words from a caring and kindhearted young woman.
Leigh Ann Root is a freelance writer, photographer and yoga instructor. She lives in Newbury, N.H., with her husband, Jonathan, and children, Parker and Joleigh.
What is the GreatKids Award? Four times a year, one winner — an outstanding, local kid who has demonstrated heartfelt passion, enthusiastic commitment and humanitarian spirit while making a positive impact on the community — is selected by the Kid Stuff editorial team. Kids are nominated by their neighbors, teachers, parents, etc. The winner (age 5 – 21) is profiled in Kid Stuff magazine and receives a framed certificate and a cash prize.