Young Leaders Elementary School in Bronx, New York Partnered with Clean Rite to Provide Students with Laundry Cards

Free Laundry Cards for Students

Clean clothes are something that not every student has the luxury of and it can stop a child from wanting to attend school. PS 369X- Young Leaders Elementary School in Bronx, New York understands the issues its students face and they meet the students where they are at.

PS 369X is a part of the United Community Schools (UCS), which was founded in 2012 by the United Federation of Teachers. UCS operates the largest community school network in New York City that has a network of 31 schools that serves more than 20,000 students in all five boroughs of New York City, and beyond.

PS 369X Parent Coordinator Aiowa Ponte (L), PS 369X Principal Jaleelah Cooke (M), and UCS CSD Rollet Hurry (R).
PS 369X Parent Coordinator Aiowa Ponte (L), PS 369X Principal Jaleelah Cooke (M), and UCS CSD Rollet Hurry (R). (Picture by PS 369X)

The students are always a top priority, which is why UCS Executive Director Karen Alford decided to partner with laundromat industry leader Laundry Capital to give students access to free laundry cards.

“We try to remove all the barriers so kids can attend school. Sometimes laundry gets put to the side because food needs to be bought.”

– Karen Alford

Removing Barriers to Education

Laundry Capital owns over 80 laundromats in the United States with most of their laundromats being located in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Through UCS and Laundry Captial’s partnership, pre-paid laundry cards are given to UCS students and their families which can be used to wash or dry clothes or to purchase detergent at Clean Rite laundromats, which is owned by Laundry Capital.

Each laundry card is valued at $60 and can be used whenever. UCS uses City Council funding to pay for laundry cards with a portion of the cards funded by Clean Rite.

PS 369X UCS Community Director Rollet Hurry plays an instrumental role in making sure the kids who need the cards most have access to them. According to Hurry, every parent is required to fill out an assessment form about their child, so the school can understand the best ways to help the child succeed.

“You never make a preconceived notion,” said Hurry. “Don’t attach a stigma to a child.”

Through these assessments, Hurry is able to see which students don’t have access to clean clothes on a daily basis. From there she does her magic and makes sure those students receive Clean Rite laundry cards.

The hope is that the more a student has access to clean clothes the more likely they will attend school.

PS 369X Parent Coordinator Aiowa Aponte is in her ninth year at the school and she sees the potential in her students, she even knows the names of all 240 students.

The laundry partnership is just one of many things Aponte and the PS 369X team do for their students.

Celebrating Big and Small Wins

The school recently celebrated students who came to school 100 days in a row. And to not make other students feel bad, they also celebrated the students who consecutively came to school for two to five days.

For Aponte, it’s about building relationships and being there for the students and parents.

“I have built my parent relationships one by one…our parents have been really able to trust us because we’ve been able to fall through. Give us the platform and we execute.”

– Aiowa Aponte

PS 369X is one of the few UCS schools a part of the Clean Rite partnership. In order for a school to be selected, they have to be within a certain radius of a Clean Rite laundromat to ensure the students and their families can access it.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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