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Whirlpool

T.J. Kirk hates the laundromat. What kid doesn't?

“The laundromat wastes my time,” he says. He thinks it’s boring. They have TVs, but they're never playing anything he wants to watch.

T.J. is in the third grade, and when he has homework, the laundromat gets in the way. “I can’t bring it because I can’t focus,” he says.


But even though he hates the laundromat, he prefers it to the alternative.

All photos via Whirlpool.

“At least we’re getting clothes cleaned to wear for school,” T.J. says.

When his family’s dryer broke, T.J.’s mom tried to use the laundromat whenever they could afford it — but often, T.J. found himself going to school in wet clothes or clothes he’d worn before. And when kids spot stains, they can be cruel.

"When the teacher isn't around, they say, 'There's something nasty on your shirt.' And they start laughing," T.J. says.

Laundry can have a much bigger impact on kids’ lives than we realize.

Just watch how it affected T.J.’s life to go without clean clothes and how his life changed when he had access to laundry again.

For many people, laundry is nothing but a chore. For kids without clean clothes, however, it's a constant concern.

“People at school are supposed to wear clean clothes,” T.J. says. When a child knows they’re in dirty clothes, they behave differently — feeling more self-conscious, less focused, and less confident in themselves.

When his family was without a dryer, T.J. was always thinking about making sure his clothes stayed clean. “If we’re going somewhere that has messy food, I put not good clothes on,” he says. “Something that sort of looks good, but not really.” He did his best to avoid messes and stains, to make sure his clothes stayed clean for a second wear.

But for T.J., life just isn’t as fun when he’s not allowed to get messy.

“We play soccer, play on the monkey bars, go to the swings,” he says. He loves sports and art, nature and the environment. He likes looking for snakes and caterpillars and buried treasure in the dirt. And now that there’s a washer and dryer in the school, T.J. can do all the things he loves without worrying about his clothes.

“When I put a clean shirt on,” he says, “It makes me feel happy because I don’t have to go to school with a shirt that I don’t like.”

One of T.J.’s biggest concerns is that other kids get the same access that he has to clean laundry.

After all, getting dirty is no fun without friends to do it with. “Something that I like about soccer,” he says, “is that you have teammates. Because if you don’t have teammates, how can you make a goal?”

That’s why he wants to see more schools get washers and dryers, like his. “We’re helping people who will come to school with dirty clothes,” he says. “So they don’t get picked on by their friends.”

And it's not just kids who benefit from having laundry access in schools — it brings the whole community together too.

"Now that our community knows that we have this, everyone is starting to be involved with our school," says T.J.'s mom, Monica. "Seeing that change is just amazing."

With laundry in schools, kids are more confident, communities are closer, and schools are a better place to be. And, perhaps best of all, fewer kids like T.J. have to wait around boring laundromats.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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