Whirlpool program put washing machines in schools and made a huge difference in attendance


I’m not surprised. Lots of schools do this — if they can afford it:

When you think about kids in middle school who have attendance problems, it can be easy to blame the parents (or the kids themselves), shake your head, and throw up your hands at a problem that is too big to be fixable. But what if all some of these kids need are clean clothes to wear to school? Whirlpool has taken on what could be dismissed as a minor issue and seen tremendous results.

Last year the good people at Whirlpool created the Whirlpool Care Counts Program and donated seventeen pairs of washers and dryers to school districts in St. Louis and in Fairfield, California. The schools then invited kids with attendance problems to bring in their laundry to be cleaned while they were in class.

The results were astounding: over 90% of participating students increased their attendance that year, at-risk students attended almost two more weeks of school, and each student got approximately 50 loads of laundry done at school. This year, Whirlpool will expand the program to twenty more schools in five more districts.

When compared to factors like economic opportunity, unemployment, and institutional racism, laundry seems pretty inconsequential in the fight to keep kids in school. But while that might be the case for their parents, for a ten-year-old who already has the odds stacked against them, having nothing clean to wear to school could be the deciding factor in whether or not they want to face their classmates that day.

3 thoughts on “Whirlpool program put washing machines in schools and made a huge difference in attendance

  1. Astonishing. These sorts of things just remind me how so many of us live in a bubble. The bubble gets bigger and bigger the more money you have.

  2. Very true.
    This reminds me of an aphorism, possibly by Voltaire, which I can’t for the life of me remember.

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