Texas Laundromat Teams with Local Elementary School on Childhood Literacy Program
Wash It Kwik laundromat in Denton, Texas, is just a quarter-mile down the road from the Newton Rayzor Elementary School.
Simply due to their close proximity to each other, the two entities – each in their own way – serve the same neighborhood, as well as many of the same families.
And, recently, Wash It Kwik and Newton Rayzor have taken advantage of this geographic and demographic overlap, along with the passion of the school’s librarian, to partner on a childhood literacy program for the entire community.
“My kids went to Newton Rayzor 17 years ago, and that’s where my wife, Sweet Julie, and I met Kelly Born,” explained Bruce Walker, who owns Wash It Kwik. “She was a teacher and librarian at the school, and she and her husband had kids about the same age as our boys.”
Fast forward to last fall: Born was dropping off some laundry at Wash It Kwik when she noticed that Walker was looking for some part-time help at the store.
“Kelly and her husband are trying to pay off some debt,” Walker noted. “They’re both teachers who were sick and tired of being in debt. Plus, they have two kids in college, so they were looking for some extra money.”
Walker hired Born – with a few concessions.
“I told her she could come in a little late and leave by 9:00 p.m. on school nights so that she can get to bed at the decent hour,” Walker said. “And she has been just awesome – even encouraging her fellow teachers to find ways to pay off their own debt.”
Of course, as a school librarian, Born is constantly thinking of ways to get kids excited about reading and learning. And, as a local educator, she often sees her students at the laundromat while she’s working and their parents are doing laundry.
And that’s when the light bulb went on.
Born was inspired by a book she had read to her students called “Biblioburro,” which is about a man from Colombia who delivers children’s books on his donkey to remote villages throughout the area. She decided that her students could serve as a “Biblioburro” for the other kids in the community who visit the laundromat.
“She created a reading station at the store, along with these beautiful crates to hold the books,” Walker said. “Kids can take a book and leave a book. Now, they can spend their time reading and learning, while allowing the parents to get the family laundry done. It’s a win-win.”
Born even organized a trip to the Wash It Kwik, where Newton Rayzor’s kindergarten and first grade classes walked to the laundromat to donate books to the store’s new “library.”
“Kelly also has persuaded us to recycle, which helps the school earn a little money,” Walker pointed out. “Last year, the entire school earned less than $200, and I know we can do better than that.”
Wash It Kwik now takes all of its recyclables to Newton Rayzor’s recycle dumpster, which helps to fund upcoming school projects. Walker also presented the school with a $500 gift to go toward anything the school library requires. In addition, with Born working two jobs to pay off debt, Walker gave her $250 to put toward that goal.
“Our entire team loves working with Kelly,” he said. “We certainly hope she stays with us for a long time.”