Many high school students are aware of their appearance. They do not want to look any different than their colleagues. But what happens if you do not have clean clothes? To save students from humiliation, Headmaster Akbar Cook at West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, decided to offer a free launderette at the school.
Hated for her dirty clothes
When students in dirty clothes arrived at school, peers harassed them. They would take pictures of the clothes and shame them by sharing the snapshots on social media. Principal Cook heard about bullying and realized that this was the reason why nearly 85% of the students skipped the school over and over again.
Cook first changed the school's school policy to darker colors. This would help the students spend more days without cleaning their clothes since their peers would not notice stains. But even so, the students still had trouble looking clean.
At that time, the client thought of a better solution: to offer a free laundrette.
Provides a clean start
Cook needed as much help as possible to make this dream possible. Two years ago, he applied for a grant to get $ 20,000 for the project. Once approved, the school converted an old football changing room into a free school washroom.
The room now has five washers and dryers and a stack of donated laundry detergent. It is open to students from 3pm to 6pm. An adult caregiver helps students who do not know how to wash their clothes.
"Students often come in because they're embarrassed, they do not look the same, somebody complains about a body odor," said Nicole Daniel, the school's operations assistant.
But now in the laundrette students do not have to feel that way.
Building their self-confidence
"We try to teach them how proud they are," said Cook. "My kids are fighters, they just need good ways to fight for themselves, and then they're proud of what they can do."