T.J. Kirk hates the laundromat. What kid doesn’t?
“The laundromat wastes my time,” he says. He thinks it’s boring. They have TVs, but they’re never playing anything he wants to watch.
T.J. is in the third grade, and when he has homework, the laundromat gets in the way. “I can’t bring it because I can’t focus,” he says.
But even though he hates the laundromat, he prefers it to the alternative.
“At least we’re getting clothes cleaned to wear for school,” T.J. says.
When his family’s dryer broke, T.J.’s mom tried to use the laundromat whenever they could afford it — but often, T.J. found himself going to school in wet clothes or clothes he’d worn before. And when kids spot stains, they can be cruel.
“When the teacher isn’t around, they say, ‘There’s something nasty on your shirt.’ And they start laughing,” T.J. says.
One of T.J.’s biggest concerns is that other kids get the same access that he has to clean laundry.
After all, getting dirty is no fun without friends to do it with. “Something that I like about soccer,” he says, “is that you have teammates. Because if you don’t have teammates, how can you make a goal?”
That’s why he wants to see more schools get washers and dryers, like his. “We’re helping people who will come to school with dirty clothes,” he says. “So they don’t get picked on by their friends.”
And it’s not just kids who benefit from having laundry access in schools — it brings the whole community together too.
“Now that our community knows that we have this, everyone is starting to be involved with our school,” says T.J.’s mom, Monica. “Seeing that change is just amazing.”
With laundry in schools, kids are more confident, communities are closer, and schools are a better place to be. And, perhaps best of all, fewer kids like T.J. have to wait around boring laundromats.