This genius addition to schools has attendance up and bullying down.
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Whirlpool

Imagine you’re a teacher in a school that’s riddled with problems.

Many of your students act out, against you and against each other. Some kids don’t show up at all. Those who do try to apply themselves are struggling to focus and are falling behind.

All of these problems have solutions, but you’re only one person. You can’t afford to give each child the personalized care and attention they need to fix their individual issue.


So what do you do?

One surprising tool could solve a lot of students’ problems: a washing machine.

A lack of clean clothes is one of the most common problems among families with kids who are struggling in school.

All photos courtesy of Whirlpool.

“There are students that are being bullied because of the clothing that they're wearing,” says Emily Edwards, a social worker at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.

“You want them to think about, ‘Am I accomplishing good work in my math class?’” says Christina Deering, who teaches third grade. “You don't want them to be thinking, ‘I hope I'm not too close to you because I might smell.’”

Not having clean clothes distracts kids in class — and it sometimes keeps them out of school entirely. Absences add up and, ultimately, contribute to bigger academic problems that become harder to fix.

At this Nashville elementary school, the administration found a solution to the laundry problem.

“The Care Counts™ program installs washers and dryers in schools to improve attendance by giving kids access to clean clothes,” says Edwards. The school now has a washer and dryer on school property, and parents can come use them free of charge.

Watch and see how kids' lives are already improving thanks to their new laundry facilities:

Whirlpool Care Counts

No child should have to be teased because they don't have clean clothes.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

For many of the students, it’s changed everything.

“The students here, they have a confidence about themselves more than other students who maybe don’t have clean clothes,” says Deering. A study of all schools who have the Care Counts™ laundry program showed that 90% of students who make use of it improved their attendance.

Though it may seem like students’ happiness, focus, behavior, and attendance are all separate issues, they’re all problems that can be helped by adding clean clothes.

It also helps administrators provide resources beyond laundry to families in need.

Typically educators notice a problem and recommend the Care Counts™ laundry program to parents. But sometimes, it's the program that alerts the school to larger issues.

“There have been families that I didn't know were experiencing issues at home and that I'd seen were using the washer and dryer,” says Edwards. “And so that kind of opens up a conversation of, ‘It's great that you're using this resource. What else can we do to help you?’”

The school's new laundry facilities have also helped open up a dialogue around issues facing many of the students' families.

“In our classroom, we've talked about how 7 out of 10 of us are at or below the poverty line,” says Harris. “That means that there are 7 out of 10 of us that have really difficult things often that go on at home, things that are out of our control.”

Talking about that helps the kids feel more comfortable asking for help when they need it. “When they walk in the building and know that they're 7 of 10, that there's not a stigma attached to that,” Harris says. “It's love for one another and it's a support of one another and there’s less shame involved.”

With the washing machine in place, kids will hopefully build better relationships, do better in school, and be able to establish a foundation for a successful future. They're free to stop worrying about their clothes and focus on what counts: being a kid.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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