Founder & President
Ashley Novoa is the founder of Chicago Period Project. She was raised in Pilsen by her father, a Mexican immigrant, and her mother, a first-generation Mexican immigrant. Her parents struggled and worked long hours to provide her and her two siblings with their humble upbringing, and to send Ashley to private high school and two years at DePaul University. Provoked by the election this November, Ashley and some internet moms banded together to begin Chicago Period Project, and since then have collected tens of thousands of menstrual hygiene products. Ashley is also a stay-at-home mom to a three year old boy, who she’s teaching all about normal bodily functions — including periods.
My period story
"I grew up in a household where we just didn’t talk about personal things. Periods was definitely one of those topics we didn’t discuss. I’m not sure if it was a generational thing or cultural, but my mother’s advice, like it was for most things, was “You’ll learn about that in school”.
I vividly remember being 12 years old in the Boy’s and Girl’s Club bathroom, getting ready to go out for my basketball game, when I looked down and saw blood on my underwear and basketball shorts. The day had finally come, yet I hadn’t learned about it in school yet like my mom thought I would. I was bloody and I was scared! I had no idea what was happening to me! Was I sick? Did I hit my self? WAS I DYING?! I yelled out to my friend who then ran to get my mom and coach to calm down my hysterics. My coach came in with an extra, but too big, pair of shorts and my mom came in to offer moral support. Eighteen years later my period can still sometimes bring hysterics, because duh periods can suck, but at least now I know how to manage it."