Purses for a Purpose


An 18-year-old high school senior living in San Diego, Shayna has spent the past year implementing feminism at the community level to help women in need. Though Shayna isn’t shy about her beliefs, whether online or at local rallies, her unique, service-based approach to advocacy is scarcely seen in youth-led activism today.

It started with a plea posted on Facebook, asking for purses to be donated to women at local homeless shelters. When Shayna’s father mentioned the post, it was a lightbulb moment for her.

“Why don’t we fill them with travel-sized toiletries?”

Thanks to Shayna’s dedicated promotion on social media, her seemingly small idea rapidly transformed into a massive nonprofit organization, which she lovingly named Purses For a Purpose. Within months, the den of the Rutman home was overflowing with donated purses and toiletries. Now, she makes monthly trips to deliver the jam-packed handbags to various women’s shelters, and in the meantime, carefully coordinates and collects donations from across San Diego, ensuring every purse is equally stocked with love as well as toiletries.