As a father of five, James Van Der Beek has had plenty of experience when it comes to parenting, and his approach towards every issue — no matter how seemingly awkward — is clear.
“My philosophy has always been to be completely honest,” Van Der Beek, who shares Olivia, 9, Joshua, 7, Annabel, 5, Emilia, 3, and Gwendolyn, 19 months, with his wife Kimberly, tells PEOPLE. “Use the right terms, use the correct terminology. There is no shame if you talk about things bluntly. If you don’t make it weird, it’s not weird.”
Fittingly, the actor has partnered with Always and Walmart on a mission to help young women gain access to necessary feminine products.
“One in five girls are missing school and extracurricular activities because they don’t have access to period products,” says Van Der Beek, 42. “But this is not something that needs to be covered up or not talked about. I want to chip away at the stigma. There are girls who really need help.”
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For every view of a video Van Der Beek posted on his Instagram, a pad donation will be made, up to one million in total. In addition, for every comment or share on his photo post, a month’s supply of pads will be donated, up to half a million pads.
“As the father of daughters and a son, it’s very clear to me that pretending [the issue of period poverty] doesn’t exist, does not help these kids have access to products,” says Van Der Beek. “The older my kids get, I really think consciously about what I’m putting out there.”
And for Van Der Beek, some recent family time proved to be necessary — and healing.
“We’re allowing ourselves the process,” he says of navigating pain and heartbreak following Kimberly’s recent miscarriage. “We’re allowing ourselves to go through it. This week is better than two weeks ago. It all happens in levels and layers. You appreciate the good as much as you have to acknowledge when it doesn’t feel so good. But we’re getting there.”
A family RV trip provided some much-appreciated joy.
“It’s great to check out and put the phone down and just be with the kids in a confined space,” says Van Der Beek. “It is amazing the conversations that come out just from being in the same room. They grow up so fast, so to spend that time connecting is just amazing.”
And Van Der Beek cherishes every moment, no matter how hectic.
“Vacations are always crazy, it’s always chaos and I’m always exhausted,” he says. “But they are always my favorite times with the kids. Because I’m just with them, all the time.”