A high school in Arizona now features a laundry room, so struggling students won’t have to miss school due to a lack of clean clothes.

Principal John Anderson added the laundry room to Maya High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Maya isn’t your average school, the principal says.

“Maya High School is an alternative high school. We serve a population that struggled in other school settings,” he told KTVK.

That means many students at Maya struggle to meet basic needs, such as housing, food, and clean clothes. Principal Anderson says that over a third of his students are categorized as homeless, forced to sleep in parks or on a friend’s floor or couch. Sometimes students don’t even want to come to school because their clothes aren’t clean.

Photo Credit: KTVK

Former student Andreya De La Torre explained how hard it can be to keep up your education without access to clean clothes.

“I come from a homeless background, sleeping in abandoned buildings, having no clothes, washing the same pair of clothes every single day.

But coming to school smelling, kids don’t want to be by you. They are talking about you.

And it’s just really hard to focus on your education when you are focused on your self-esteem.”

So Principal Anderson applied for grant money to turn an old closet into a full-fledged laundry room.

Photo Credit: KTVK

Students say the laundry room has made a definite difference in improving kids’ self-image.

A senior student explained,

“Instead of worrying about someone talking about you because you smell bad and you don’t have to ask someone to borrow clothes you can just wash them here.”

But the laundry room’s impact goes beyond clean clothes — it’s also evidence that the Maya community has students’ backs.

Principal Anderson added,

“We make them believe in themselves and to want to do it for themselves.

Students know that we put our money where our mouth is as far as Maya being a community and saying we are all in.”

What an amazing idea! Bravo to that principal for thinking of this.

By the way, is this needed in a community near you? If so, make sure you share it with the school district!