Baltimore schools get washers/dryers to improve student attendance and morale

Posted at 5:40 PM, Dec 07, 2016

Eight Baltimore City Public Schools got washing machines and dryers installed to help boost attendance and morale.

The Whirlpool sponsored Care Counts Program started at the beginning of the 2015 school year in two schools, one in Fairfield. California, the other in St. Louis, Missouri.

The program had huge success.

According to Whirlpool: 

  • 95% of participants showed increased motivation in class

  • 95% of participants were more likely to participate in extracurricular activities

  • 95% of participants interacted with peers and enjoyed school more

  • 89% of participants got good grades

Now it its second year, the program expanded rapidly.Whirlpool reached out to Family League, an organization that connects community schools with services, to see which ones were most in need last summer.

"Community schools in Baltimore are all Title I schools, all high poverty schools, there's a lot of needs around homelessness and as we heard English Language Learner and the newcomer population," Julia Baez, Chief Strategy Officer for Family League Baltimore said.

Armistead Gardens, Graceland Park O’Donnell Heights, Margret Brent, Moravia Park, Patterson Park Public Charter School, Tench Tilghman, Barclay and William Pinderhughes were selected to get washing machines and dryers in September 2016.

Armistead Gardens had 18 percent of students who missed two or more days of school every month last year. They hope to bring that number down by 2 percent this year.

"We're hoping with being able to connect those communities to the school with programs like this will build that trust that the communities have in the school and being able to see us as a resource," Sara Evjen, Community School Coordinator at Armistead Gardens, said.

At Armistead Gardens, students create an appointment to come in and wash their clothes. The school supplies everything else, including appliances, detergent and dryer sheets.

"It's more self esteem and confidence about themselves and how they look and I believe that students should have that trust in themselves," eighth grader Kimberly Vasquez said.

While the school doesn't have hard stats on the impact the appliances are making, Vasquez said she can feel it in the classroom.
"The class is more fuller I guess you could say and there's more participation in the class," she said.
Family League is looking for more ways to use the program to make the most out of it. Right now adult volunteers are allowed to wash their clothes as well.
Baez hopes to bring this to more schools in Baltimore.

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