Whirlpool, with support from TFA Jacksonville, is providing families with critical laundry services.
September 16, 2020
Each day, thousands of students miss school because they don’t have access to clean clothes.
This is a critical issue, as access to clean clothing helps students feel confident at school, allowing them to focus on what matters most: their education. To address this problem, Whirlpool introduced the Care Counts™ laundry program in 2015, which installs washers and dryers in high-need schools across the country. Teach For America Jacksonville participated in the Care Counts™ program during the 2019-2020 school year.
Through the Care Counts™ laundry program, Whirlpool installed a commercial washer and dryer at Arlington Elementary School, a school that has a Teach For America alumna serving as a school leader who supported the implementation. Throughout the school year, Teach For America Jacksonville staff collaborated with this school to collect anonymized data and support Arlington’s participation in the larger Care Counts™ program.
As part of the Care Counts™ program, students were surveyed about their access to laundry services, and results showed that the need for such access was apparent. When asked about their desire for more clean clothes, 100 percent of students said they wished they had more clean clothes most of the time or all of the time. One student wrote in, “I love school so I will come, but I don’t like dirty clothes.”
“We not only saw an increase in student attendance, but in student confidence as well. Additionally, our students’ families felt seen and heard. Whirlpool’s efforts bridged the gap for many families without access to a washer and dryer.”
Overall, 20 families with children in grades K-2 signed up to participate in the program. From November to March, over 275 loads of laundry were washed and dried at Arlington Elementary! (School closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak halted the program in March). At the start of the program, 100% of the participating students were on a trajectory towards chronic absenteeism. By the end, 75% of students participating were no longer on a path to chronic absenteeism.
Despite the temporary pause on the program, Arlington Elementary principal and TFA alumna Jasmin Esparza still saw a huge difference at her school.
“Whirlpool’s generosity is a blessing to our students and teachers. We are extremely grateful for their commitment to decreasing barriers for our students to excel in their academics and social-emotional wellbeing," she says. "We not only saw an increase in student attendance, but in student confidence as well. Additionally, our students’ families felt seen and heard. Whirlpool’s efforts bridged the gap for many families without access to a washer and dryer. This program allowed for families to be serviced in many ways while positively effecting student achievement. We are so appreciative of [the] support and look forward to our continued work together in the year ahead," Jasmin says.