Many families living in poverty spend 90 minutes and $5 each week at their neighborhood laundromat. Waiting for laundry provides an opportune time for families to complete administrative/educational tasks, such as tax prep or book readings with kids. This project will create a pop-up library at one laundromat in Washington, DC, and engage local organizations/volunteers to facilitate educational workshops in the laundromat. Imagine this: You walk into your neighborhood laundromat, drop your kids off with the children’s librarian reading books to kids in a quiet corner. This gives you time -- the first time ever at the laundromat -- where you can fold your clothes calmly without running around after your kids (who usually entertain themselves here by jumping into the laundry carts). While your clothes are in the washer, you are invited by a certified CPA to ask her any questions you might have about your taxes due in April. While your clothes are in the dryer, you sign onto one of the provided computers to check your e-mail, and with occasional help and encouragement from one of the volunteers on site, you write your first digital resume and submit your first job application online. I have scoped out the laundromats in the city, and have received oral commitments from laundromat owners in wards 8 and 4 to utilize the waiting rooms in their stores for a pop-up event. I intend to take this one-off event as an opportunity to build momentum behind more frequent and more sustained events inside laundromat waiting rooms across our city. I want to transform all laundromat waiting rooms into public access computer labs with facilitated learning opportunities because I believe in a prospective future unhindered by structural inequalities.
Funded by Washington, DC (February 2019)