There was a constant downpour on February 23, but the day was anything but a washout. A group of IXLers met up at The Wash House, a laundromat in Durham, NC, to help Book Harvest kick off their first Wash & Learn program!
The aim of Wash & Learn, an initiative in 7 states and the District of Columbia, is to turn laundromats into pop-up learning spaces. At the launch of Wash & Learn Durham, parents took advantage of free laundry service, sponsored by the LaundryCares Foundation, while their kids enjoyed fun literacy activities. A partnership between Book Harvest, The Wash House laundromats, and international literacy organization Libraries Without Borders, the program offered a ton of opportunities for big and little readers!
Book Harvest is a Durham-based nonprofit that provides books and literacy support to families and children in the community. IXLers pitched in to set up Book Harvest’s booth and distribute free books and information about their initiatives. They also helped run other family-friendly activities, including applying temporary tattoos and supervising children as they colored with markers and played with a cardboard ice cream truck. Best of all, IXLers had a fun storytime responsibility: Kids could select a book and read with volunteers.
“The Wash & Learn program is amazing,” said Katherine Wilson, an IXL curriculum design manager. “It takes time that would otherwise be pretty boring for kids—sitting around waiting for laundry to be finished—and transforms it into an opportunity to learn and explore. It was so rewarding to see kids’ faces light up as they sorted through the books, and I loved the chance to circle up and read with them!”
The morning culminated in a ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Mayor Pro Tempore Jillian Johnson, to celebrate Durham’s first Wash & Learn. IXL engineering project lead Adam Singer’s daughter, who volunteered with IXLers at the event, was one of the two youths who assisted the Mayor Pro Tempore in cutting the ribbon.
For more information about Book Harvest and how you can get involved, please visit bookharvestnc.org.
To find out more about the LaundryCares Foundation and their mission, visit laundrycares.org.
—Amanda Simays, Curriculum Designer