Dec. 28—Park Creek School Early Intervention and English Learner teacher Vanesa Vazquez said parents of students at the school "work so hard to provide for their children."
And she wanted to find a way to help take some of the pressure off of those parents. She knew many of them don't have washing machines and dryers, appliances that many take for granted, at home.
She came up with Bubbles and Blessings, a program that started at the school that helps parents of students at the school pay for their trips to the laundromat and provides them with detergent so they don't have to worry about their children having clean clothes to wear to school.
"I remember growing up we didn't have a washer and dryer in our apartment, and I know the stress it put on my mom having to do laundry at a laundry mat," she said. "I remember gathering quarters so we would have money to do laundry. When I pass by that same laundry mat today it brings back memories to the late nights we would spend there helping my mom."
She had originally hoped to place washers and dryers for parents to use at the school, but officials said installing the plumbing would be difficult.
So she went to "plan B."
She found that Shaw Industries provides grants for community projects. She applied for and received one of those grants. She also received assistance from Dr. Karen González at Braun Eyecare, her brother's law firm Rolando Vazquez Law and other teachers and employees at Park Creek School and Dalton Public Schools.
Parents can come to the school and pick up free detergent and get a debit card loaded with funds they can use at a laundromat.
"Our school social worker and school counselor helped by gathering a list of families who could possibly benefit from this program," said Vazquez. "I reached out to families on the list, and since then teachers have referred other families. Since November, some of our Park Creek families have been doing laundry utilizing the Bubbles and Blessings program."
Some of the parents taking part in the program said they really appreciate Vazquez and the school helping them.
"When I was making fliers to send home about the program I came across a quote on one of the flier templates that said, 'We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone,'" said Vazquez. "I knew it fit perfectly with my mission of helping our families and I plan to live by that motto. Those who know me know how much I love to help others. I know how hard our Park Creek families work and the sacrifices they've made for their kids so, hopefully, alleviating the stress of laundry brings some relief."
Anyone wishing to donate to Bubbles and Blessings can send checks to the school at 1500 Hale Bowen Drive, Dalton, GA 30721. Earmark the donation for Bubbles and Blessings.