Fun Wash. A place where you can get all your laundry done...and really fast! Though I love Fun Wash, its atmosphere, and its vibrant colors, this is not a sales pitch for them...or AR Kids Read for that matter. It's a story of how Brittany Smith, the owner's daughter, decided to look past the laundromat's conventional services to offer something that will continue to impact its communities for decades to come.
Here's her story...
"The Coin Laundry Association sent Fun Wash a letter telling us about the 'Wash Time is Talk Time' initiative by Clinton Foundation and Too Small to Fail. I found the letter on my husband's desk and immediately knew this was something I wanted to implement in our stores.
I have three young children and have experienced their joy in reading books together as a family. I have also watched my oldest child learn to read and have realized the importance of reading to your children at early ages. At Fun Wash we have a desire to give back to our community, and children have always been a part of that as we partner with AR Kids Read, P.A.R.K., and donate pencils to local schools."
Brittany took the initiative and called up her handyman. The handy duo started installing book racks on the walls of her stores.
"I started out by purchasing books at the Scholastic warehouse. It didn't take too long before our books found new homes, and I knew I had to find a less expensive source of books.
'...and boxes of books started being left on my front porch.'
I posted on my personal Facebook page about how we were putting children's books in our laundromats and asked if anyone had used books they would like to donate. I received responses from several people and boxes of books started being left on my front porch. My children's preschool also directed some used book donations to us."
I recently visited Brittany with 150 books from AR Kids Read to continue supporting what she is doing in her community. While I was there, I got the chance to introduce a family to the book corner at that Fun Wash store. It wasn't long before the little boy in the family picked up the book about dinosaurs.
Plans to Continue...
"We plan to continue the program. We started with 4 locations and later expanded to 2 more. I hope to add a few more locations this year. We also have mini posters provided by The Clinton Foundation that we share on social media. Each one provides an activity that parents can do to engage their young children while doing laundry."
Beyond the Books...
Fun Wash's sponsorship of AR Kids Read really does go beyond supporting our program financially. This company and its people truly care about the community and improving literacy in Central Arkansas. We are more than grateful to have them not only as a sponsor, but as advocates for literacy and long-term partners and friends.
If you have books at home and you're thinking of cleaning out, consider donating to Fun Wash. If you would like to support literacy in Central Arkansas through AR Kids Read, please consider supporting on ArkansasGives day.