A determined teen boy found a way to fight bullying by providing clean clothes and making a positive impact on his classmates' lives.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 20% of students in the U.S. aged between the ages of 12 and 18 experience bullying during the school year, leading to around 166,000 teenagers skipping school. Students become targets for various reasons, including their physical appearance and clothing choices.
When a high school student witnessed the impact of such teasing on his peers, causing them to feel self-conscious about their clothing and skip school, he decided to take the initiative to help. His actions aimed to make their lives easier and create an environment that would encourage them to return to school without fear of further teasing.
We are so proud of Lacey’s very own Jimmy Tomredle, our Senior Class President, who installed a community washer/dryer today in LTHS for his senior project in the Leadership Academy!Congratulations to Seton Hall, where Jimmy will attend this Fall! pic.twitter.com/tLJfMPA7C3— Dr. Leah Purpuri (@DrPurpuri) May 25, 2023
Jimmy Tomredle, the senior class president of Lacey Township High School, discovered that some of his classmates were missing school because they lacked clean clothes and feared being bullied. Driven by a desire to create a positive impact and improve his classmates' comfort, the 18-year-old student conducted research and found inspiration in the story of Akbar Cook, the principal of West Side High School.
According to CNN, Cook installed five sets of washers and dryers in the football team's locker room, enabling students to do their laundry without any cost. Cook's decision to install the washers and dryers was motivated by his observation that many students consistently missed school because they lacked clean clothes. Some of these students were facing homelessness and did not have access to washers and dryers, exacerbating their struggles to attend school regularly.
"I learned that some kids weren’t coming to school because they didn’t have clean clothes, and I was inspired by Principal Akbar Cook from Westside High School in Newark," Tomredle told NJ.com. "He basically started a laundry room at his school because kids were getting bullied because they're dirty clothes."
As part of his project for the Leadership Academy of Humanities Program, Tomredle collaborated with school staff and local appliance stores to make sure his classmates could access laundry services at no cost. He took the initiative to write multiple letters to appliance stores in the area, seeking support for his cause. Finally, Anchor Appliance in West Creek responded to his request and generously donated a washer and dryer to the school. The school staff's efforts enabled Lacey Township High School to provide free laundry facilities for its students. "The goal of this project is to bring free laundry services to all students and staff for the high school," Tomredle explained.
The school’s maintenance team and Anchor Appliance staff installed the donated appliances in the school's community closet and "Tomredle's Terrifically Tidy Laundry Services" was officially launched and made available for use. On May 25, the grand opening day, the event was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, heartfelt speeches and an impressive turnout of over 60 people, including the school district's superintendent, teachers, students, as well as Tomredle's close friends and family.
"We placed the washer and dryer in a room called the Community Closet," Tomredle said. "At the Community Closet, there's clothes, food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, it's basically a room where you can take stuff for free."
To ensure the laundry room's orderly usage, students must schedule appointments through Google Forms, and a teacher's presence is required during laundry sessions. Tomredle contributed some of his laundry detergent bottles for the initial launch. However, he has now initiated a detergent donation drive, encouraging others to donate detergent, dryer sheets and various laundry products to support the ongoing operation of the laundry room. Tomredle's thoughtful efforts are creating a supportive and caring environment for his fellow students, ensuring they have access to clean clothes and a positive school experience.
In alignment with Tomredle's commitment to addressing bullying and promoting school attendance, Whirlpool has also taken steps to support students. In 2017, the company donated washers and dryers to 12 schools. Within a year, an impressive 93% of students who had access to these appliances reported a noticeable improvement in their attendance. Whirlpool's contribution has proven to be a significant and impactful initiative in creating a positive school environment for students.