Behind the sticker-covered bathroom door inside Three Tigers Brewing Co. sits an innocuous red bag filled with pads and tampons.  

The products are free for anyone to use and are part of a project led by a Granville Middle School student to increase accessibility to menstrual products. Currently, three Granville restaurants are participating in the project: Three Tigers, Harvest Pizza and Station. 

Mia Myers, a seventh-grade student in Granville’s Experiential Learner Mastermind course, came up with the idea to provide free pads and tampons to the community. 

The course is an elective led by English teacher James Browder and designed to inspire students to make their communities better. 

“It’s a basic necessity,” Myers told The Reporting Project. “It’s almost like food and water.” 

Myers doesn’t recall seeing free tampons or pads in public while growing up, despite the universal need for them. 

“I was probably about 12 … before I saw the Aunt Flow machines in Easton,” she recalled. “There was even a sign up that said what Aunt Flow is, and I read it and thought it was so cool, and more restrooms should have these.” 

Aunt Flow, launched in 2016 by 18-year-old Toledo native Claire Coder, was created in part to combat “period poverty,” or the lack of access to period products and menstrual education. Part of that mission, according to Aunt Flow, is to provide access to period products like pads and tampons for people who couldn’t otherwise afford them. 

Myers knew access to free period products needed to change in her own community, and she began working to implement pad and tampon dispensers in her school’s bathrooms. 

About two weeks into her project, Granville installed state-mandated free menstrual product dispensers in all of the middle school restrooms, and Myers decided to switch gears. 

“I was halfway through my project, and the [dispensers] just magically showed up in the bathroom,” she said. “I was trying to think and then [Browder] brought up the idea that my project isn’t just over, and I can pivot. There are no dispensers or free tampons in our community, so I reached out to different businesses.” 

Chris Crader, who owns Station and Harvest Pizza on Main Street in Granville, was excited to implement Mia’s project in his restaurants. Credit: James Browder

Initially, her emails went unnoticed. 

“I sent out multiple emails and stuff and then I even wrote a handwritten letter to Chris Crader, the owner of Harvest Pizza and Station, and he finally got back to me,” Myers said. “He was like, ‘I love this!’”

Not only did Mia inspire business owners like Crader, but she also caught the eye of the company that inspired her. Myers set up Zoom meetings and talks with sales representatives at Aunt Flow, as well as other businesses interested in her project. She began to turn her dreams into reality as she worked hand-in-hand with the company she observed in other public restrooms.

Her teacher, James Browder, was Myers’ guide and support behind-the-scenes. 

“I love that [she] was so comfortable,her willingness to talk about something that was taboo, which is really what her project was also trying to elevate,” Browder said. “It was one giving access, but it was also removing the stigma.”

Browder, an Ohio native who’s been teaching at Granville Middle School for 18 years, said he felt that educators were not asking students what they cared about. 

“We often inundate them with our work and don’t ask them about their work or even ‘What do you want to do?’” Browder said.

With that in mind, he started the Experiential Learner Mastermind class to give students autonomy to create solutions for the problems they were concerned about. He was inspired by a book he had read over the summer in 2021.

“I started just in my English and language arts classroom, giving kids half the period on Friday,” Browder said. “I just asked: What do you care about in the world?”

The students in his classroom have produced several community projects, and Browder eventually pushed for the course to become a permanent part of the middle school curriculum. 

This is Browder’s third year with the program in place, and each year the students are becoming more and more creative with their solutions. 

Caliyah Bennett writes for, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is sponsored in part by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.