Students Without Access to Laundry Machines Can Wash Clothes for Free at This High School

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iStock

Some schools offer more than just an education: It's becoming more common for schools to provide pantry items and toiletries to students who may not have access to such necessities at home. As CNN reports, West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey is building on this trend by installing an on-site laundromat that's free for students to use.

The new facilities were inspired by the West Side High students who don't always have clean clothes to wear to class—either because they don't have laundry machines at home or don't have homes at all. Principal Akbar Cook noticed that many of these kids were being teased by their classmates for wearing dirty clothes, and he suspected that was leading some of them to skip class. Absenteeism is a major problem for West Side High, with 85 percent of students chronically missing school.

Cook tried to tackle the issue by switching to darker uniforms, which should have allowed students to wear the same outfits for longer without attracting attention, but the clothes-related bullying didn't stop. Then, two years ago, he applied for a grant from a foundation connected to a Newark-based utility company and used the $20,000 he received to open a laundromat for the school.

The laundry room is housed in an old football locker room, and it features five washers, five dryers, and a selection of detergents. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., students are welcome to use the machines under the supervision of an adult staff member.

The free laundromat will be open to students beginning on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 4. To help keep the facilities stocked with detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and other laundry products, you can donate items directly to the school through its Amazon Wish List.

[h/t CNN]

100 Homeless New York City High School Graduates Are Bound for College

iStock/Milkos
iStock/Milkos

Youth homelessness in New York City public schools is at an all-time high. In October, The New York Times reported that one out of every 10 students in the city's public school system were without permanent homes. As the school year wraps up, a hopeful story has come out of that sobering statistic. More than 100 New York City teens without homes have graduated high school and are on their way to college.

The exceptional group from the graduating senior class of 2019 were honored by the Department of Homeless Services at a ceremony on June 27, ABC 7 reports. Alexus Lawrence, a student who spoke at the ceremony, is the valedictorian of her high school and the recipient of a $2000 scholarship for academic excellence. She's now set to attend in Brooklyn College to study to become a pediatrician. Ronaldino Crosdale spoke as well; he's headed to Baruch College in the fall.

"I didn't believe in miracles until I got here," he said in his speech. You can see more clips from the ceremony in the video below.

Each of the college-bound students received a duffel bag of school supplies, including laptops. Rising rent costs have contributed to the growing number of homeless students in New York City, which outnumbered the total population of state capital Albany, as of last fall. The instability of temporary housing can lead to chronic absenteeism and poor grades among students. But despite their circumstances, every year there are homeless students who beat the odds. Earlier this year, Brianna Watts, a Bronx high school senior living in a homeless shelter, was accepted to 12 colleges.

[h/t ABC 7]

Las Vegas Is Letting Drivers Pay Their Parking Tickets With Donated School Supplies

iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina
iStock/Ekaterina Senyutina

Summer has just begun, but officials in Las Vegas, Nevada, have already implemented a plan to get free school supplies to kids by September. As CNN reports, the city has agreed to waive parking fines for people who donate back-to-school goods like pencils and paper.

According to a news release from the city of Las Vegas, the new parking ticket payment program will run for a limited time. From now through July 19, Las Vegas residents with non-public safety parking violations can bring new school supplies to the Parking Services Offices within 30 days of the citation date to have their fines forgiven. The donated items must be unwrapped and come with a receipt of greater or equal value to the fine being covered. In addition to conventional school supplies like writing implements, index cards, rulers, scissors, and erasers, cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfecting wipes will also be accepted.

All goods collected through the program will be donated to the Teacher Exchange, a nonprofit associated with the Public Education Foundation. Every school year, the organization collects surplus books, office supplies, and other materials that would otherwise get thrown out and distributes them to public school classrooms in southern Nevada.

Las Vegas's new school supplies initiative is predated by experimental programs in other cities that allow residents to make donations to pay parking tickets. For five years in a row during the holiday season, Lexington, Kentucky, has accepted canned goods as payment for parking fines to help replenish the local God’s Pantry Food Bank.

[h/t CNN]

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