Limited Laundry, Limited Learning

In order to thrive, children need more than just high-quality academics — they need knowledge and resources to successfully navigate all of life’s complexities. That’s why wrap-around support is at the core of what we do. From nutrition to mental wellness to out-of-school-time programs, we encircle the whole child so he or she can live a full and productive life.

This article from NPR (“A New School Year Brings Renewed Focus on Attendance”) provides an example of why this is so critical. After experiencing significant attendance issues, a school determined the source of its problem: inadequate access to laundry facilities. With limited funds, a five-day school week and a fear of embarrassment from wearing dirty clothes to class, skipping school became a reasonable trade-off for many low-income students. However, as the article points out, missing more than two days a month can result in major academic setbacks. So the school offered a creative solution: school-based washers and dryers for parents to use during and after the school day.

As a former school principal, I have seen first-hand the challenges faced by families living in poverty, including this exact problem. In our case, we worked to effectively communicate and collaborate with parents to find solutions — from supplying extra uniforms to coordinating transportation to meeting nutritional needs. At the Foundation, we will continue to invest in wrap-around support as a central part of our work. Learn more about our approach.