In one high school in Arizona, United States, students are welcome to take their dirty clothes in a laundry room dedicated to them.
Maya High School principal John Anderson undertook the initiative after learning that students would skip school because they get bullied for smelling bad, Arizona’s Family reported on Dec. 4.
The number of students in the school who are considered homeless is at more than 30%, Anderson stated. As an alternative school, he said, “We serve a population that struggled in other school settings.”
Andreya De La Torre, a former student turned school staff, knows the experience too well. “I come from a homeless background, sleeping in abandoned buildings, having no clothes, washing the same pair of clothes every single day.” She said it hits kids’ self-esteem when they are made fun of for their odor.
Anderson recalled that despite “smelling like cat urine”, one student who had family problems would still show up to school to get his diploma.
The school principal was determined to make a laundry room in the school. He applied for grants so than an old closet near the cafeteria could accommodate students who need to wash their clothes.
The laundry room called “The Missing Sock” includes two washing machines, a table to fold clothes and shelves full of detergent thanks to multiple charities.
Anderson said, “We make them believe in themselves and to want to do it for themselves. The laundry room has created a buzz. Students know that we put our money where our mouth is as far as Maya being a community and saying we are all in.”
“I don’t look at it as a handout. It’s a hand up. They’re fighters.” Niña V. Guno /ra