A school has made the unique decision to install washing machines for children who miss school due to dirty clothes.
When this Arizona principal found out that students were skipping school because they do not have clean clothes to wear, he decided to take matters into his hands and added a laundry room!
The back of a Phoenix mall was an old movie theater that is turned into a high school. But according to Principal John Anderson, this is not your ordinary school. He said, “Maya High School is an alternative high school. We serve a population that struggled in other school settings.”
The principal said that he realized that many of his students have a problem and they are struggling with things that other students are taking for granted. Others are blessed with their own home while homeless students are facing many big problems. He explained, “Over 30% of our students are categorized as homeless. They may have slept in a park or slept on a friend’s floor or couch, on a nightly basis.”
The principal also noticed another problem, students do not have clean clothes to wear to school.
Former Maya student, Andreya De La Torre said, “I relate to a lot of them. I come from a homeless background, sleeping in abandoned buildings, having no clothes, washing the same pair of clothes every single day. … But coming to school smelling, kids don’t want to be by you. They are talking about you. And it’s just really hard to focus on your education when you are focused on your self-esteem.”
Anderson said, that it was one of his former students’ determination to live through his family’s bad situation that helped him to act. He described talking to the student in his office. He said, “It was when I offered him the detergent and the quarters and what not he said, ‘They just don’t care.’”
He added, “And I thought to myself, ‘Here’s this young man who is coming to school smelling like cat urine, knowing that as a high school student — a teenager — he just wants his diploma so bad that he’s willing to do that.’ It tore me up and it was the final kicker to seek out getting a student-access laundry room in our building.”
The principal explained that he wanted to solve the problem in different ways, but their budget was too tight so he went for the grant route. With the help of the Leona Group that runs the school, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Fiesta Bowl, came through with the cash to make it possible.
Seniors Stephanie and Anntania explained how this brings a huge change to their classmate’s lives.
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