Castleton's Voices for Planned Parenthood is officially up and running. Though they held an informal meeting on Nov. 30, the Speed Dating for Sexual Health event will be the group’s first event.
“There’s going to be themes, so you’ll sit and talk to someone for two minutes. At one point you’ll talk about Planned Parenthood services or your own personal sexual health or things that interest you about sex or nothing about sex or just health care in general,” club President Karsen Woods, said explaining the event.
One of the main goals that Woods and Dani Cioffi, who jointly started the club as a class assignment, is to break down the stigmas that go along with talking about Planned Parenthood and sexual health in general.
“We’re laying down the foundation and the hard work here. I’m leaving my legacy. I’m hoping that everyone wants to be proud, and will look at Voices for Planned Parenthood and see that they need to look at all these rights that we have, especially since we’re the next generation that is going to be running this country soon,” Cioffi said.
Cioffi is graduating in December and Woods in May, so they are working to make sure they have a strong group of officers to learn from them and keep the club going. The two started it as a project for their senior seminar project.
They are also hoping that the club will open up opportunities for members.
“I have been making incredible connections with the people at the D.C. office of Planned Parenthood, people in Colchester and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England,” Woods said. She also said by being involved in the club and making those connections with Planned Parenthood, there is always a chance for job opportunities to come about.
One of the types of jobs she mentioned was going to college campuses and starting chapters like the one she and Cioffi have started at Castleton.
Club members have already been invited to the State House in Montpelier in January to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and will have the opportunity to go to the Nasty Women protest in Washington D.C. in March.
Woods is using the club to help make a difference, rather than just complaining.
“Sometimes we’re all just Facebook politics. We’re just Facebook protestors. You can share and share and share until you can’t press anymore. What have you taught and what have you transcended to everybody?” Woods said.
The point of the club is to make sure that everyone feels safe. Woods said many times during the meeting that it was a safe place and that members should feel safe talking to her or anyone in the club about anything, because that’s why they started it.
“Feminism is such a dirty word and in the same category Planned Parenthood is a dirty word and it shouldn’t be. It’s a health care center. My goal has always been to end stigmas,” Woods said.