Pre-school students from Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) gathered today on the sidewalk in front of Leah’s Laundromat to announce the unveiling of a brand-new “Read, Play, Learn” space program during a special ribbon-cutting event.
The new initiative is the first of its kind in Kansas City, Kansas and is being launched in partnership with the Laundry Cares Foundation, Lakeshore Learning and Scholastics, and the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library (KCKPL). This is a new partnership that brings together public-private and philanthropic collaboration.
“The Laundry Cares Foundation is proud to partner with the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools department of Early Childhood. We share their vision to bring early literacy into community settings and everyday places like the laundromat. We believe this project helps break down barriers and increase access to critical early language and literacy interactions,” said Dan Naumann, Executive Vice President, Laundry Cares Foundation.
“The “Read, Play, Learn” Space at Leah’s Laundromat on the Q provides a much-needed literacy resource to children in our community which helps build critical school readiness skills,” said Dr. Megan Cook, Director of Early Childhood.
Sheleah McPherson and her husband John are owners of the laundromat located at 1920 Quindaro Blvd. and just recently celebrated their 1st anniversary in the laundromat business. McPherson is a former educator who knows first-hand the importance of literacy and is giving back to her community by providing access to a special place for youth to read, play and learn.
“I am so excited to be part of this awesome program that will encourage reading and enhance our young people’s imaginations while they are here with their parents,” said McPhearson. “I want to do my part to enrich my community.”
The McPhearsons carved out a small section of the laundromat to create an engaging, fun, and comfortable space that encourages reading. They have three built-in shelves and one self-standing bookshelf filled with more than 250 children’s and 70 adult reading books. Families are allowed to take the books home to encourage continued learning. KCKPL is donating 300 books which will be replenished regularly through book donations from the library and other community-based organizations.
Carol Levers, the Director of KCK’s Public Libraries, said “we are excited to partner with Laundry Cares. The Kansas City, Kansas Public Library is not just about books. We bring people together and connect them to worlds beyond our community, allowing access to programs and services that fuel lifelong learning.”
“We are truly grateful for all of these organizations coming together to promote the importance of literacy. Our collective collaboration reinforces the importance of learning outside the classroom. When children are encouraged to read independently, it can enhance classroom learning,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna Stubblefield. The “Read, Learn, Play” program provides students with the opportunity to read, learn, and play outside of school.
A player from the Kansas City Monarchs baseball club joined in on the fun and read to the students from Bertram Caruthers and Banneker elementary schools. In addition to the books, Dream Automotive donated 60 containers of laundry detergent to customers.
“We believe that the neighborhood laundromat has a unique opportunity to upcycle the otherwise mundane laundry day routine and give back to the families who patronize our businesses every week,” said Brian Wallace, President, and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association (CLA).
Established in 1960, the CLA is the largest trade association dedicated to the self-service laundry industry and has assisted thousands of laundry operators get the most out of their businesses.
About Laundry Cares Foundation
The LaundryCares Foundation was created by the Coin Laundry Association and had a long-standing history of supporting the self-service laundry industry. Members of LaundryCares are always eager to give back to the individuals who support their businesses.
Posted May 17, 2022