Feminism and the female experience has been a focus of Allison Wong’s throughout her life. The 16-year-old is now making a difference for women in need through volunteerism.
As the founder of Womenwurld, the Irvine, California student is empowering women, girls and nonbinary individuals by providing them with period and personal hygiene products and resources. Supporting underserved populations hit particularly hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, Womenwurld has donated more than 30,000 products and raised more than $5,000 to combat period poverty in Orange County. Allison’s volunteerism is a celebration of womanhood and a reminder to women that they are not alone.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I’m in a position where I’ve had things handed to me. The people I serve don’t get to focus on their passions because they’re so focused on their health and conditions that prevent them. That’s what allows me to focus on my passions of volunteering.
Describe your volunteerism with Womenwurld.
As founder and president, I manage fundraising, online and social communications, design and education. I put together the menstruation kits and raise awareness online. We’ve partnered with community organizations including: KidWorks, Mary’s Kitchen, Friendship Shelter, Thomas House Family Shelter, WISEPlace, Waymakers OC, Robyne’s Nest, Project Hope Alliance and Orange County Rescue Mission. We’re hoping to expand beyond Orange County in the future.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
Last year, I visited Mary’s Kitchen, an organization that works directly with houseless individuals, and that was the first time I’d ever been so close to women who really don’t have anything. When you’re giving them kits as they walk by, they look at you, smile and say thank you, and it’s very intimate and touching. During the pandemic, it was hard to interact with people, but that was a moment where we were able to.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
You can really find yourself when you give back to the community and give people opportunities they haven’t been handed before. By volunteering, you find people who think like you, or maybe don’t think like you, but you can come together and make something really great.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
It’s rewarding to inspire other young women to join this effort. We’ve had people at my school and other cities join, and it’s really exciting.
What’s in the future for your volunteerism?
I started this organization because of the need for personal hygiene, and I will definitely be continuing it. Our school bathrooms don’t typically have products, and even if you were home during the pandemic, some don’t have products when they need it, and that makes it hard to go about your daily life. Our overall mission is to support women, so we want to do it in other ways, hopefully expanding into STEM and other educational opportunities.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
When it comes to service projects, it’s really important to find where your passion and empathy overlap, because that’s where you can make the biggest difference.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
Hope. It’s kind of cheesy (laughs.)
When you’re not busy volunteering or in school, what do you do for fun?
I’m really into computer science and art, which are strangely related for me. I like AI and I want to focus on the places where AI and art intertwine.
How can readers help?
Please visit Womenwurld’s website for more information on how you can help.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Allison Wong? Find local volunteer opportunities.