Literacy at the Laundromat, a new program spearheaded by SCARCE, an educational and environmental non-profit, has been launched in West Chicago to promote early childhood literacy.
Community members delivered stocked bookshelves to three West Chicago laundromats, Three Kings Laundromat at 285 East Roosevelt Road, Wilson Street Wash at 329 Wilson Street, and Smart Wash Laundry at 149 North Neltnor Blvd.
According to information provided by SCARCE, early literacy is crucial to children’s future success in school. As children spend an average of 2 – 2 1/2 hours at the laundromat with their parents, many with nothing to do to entertain themselves, the group thought it was a natural fit to provide some books to the facilities. Through this program, children can read while waiting for the laundry cycle, and can take a book home to keep.
SCARCE interns Olivia Ryan and Audrey Kamal spent time identifying all the laundromats in West Chicago, and made phone calls to see which were interested. With the help of West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda, three laundromat owners enthusiastically agreed to participate.
Thousands of gently used books collected every week by SCARCE were set aside to stock the donated bookshelves. Additionally, beautiful new books in English and Spanish were purchased through a generous grant from Love Like Lija, an organization which funds projects demonstrating care, kindness and compassion as a tribute to the memory of Lija Angela Yu Yin Hyssong, a young woman whose kindness inspired so many before her life was cut short by illness.
The book displays at the laundry establishments include signage in English and Spanish that contain fun games and encourage children to count, talk, and read with their parents. The signs were donated by Talking is Teaching, an organization that creates resources to promote early childhood literacy.
For more information about Literacy to the Laundromat, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line ‘Literacy at the Laundromat.’