Many teenagers look forward to spending spring break on the beach or in the mountains or just hanging out with friends, but one Illinois eighth-grader had laundry on her to-do list.
Jayera Griffin, who attends Washington Junior High in Riverdale, committed part of her break to raising money for "Free Wash Day" so that less fortunate families could have clean clothes to wear.
The 14-year-old honor student, who tutors younger kids at her school, noticed that many of her students' wore dirty clothes.
“I would see that their clothes weren’t as clean as they could be,” Jayera told WGN-TV. “So I thought they would focus more on what people would think about them and that it would lower their self-esteem.”
Jayera shared her concern with her mother.
“I told my mom that, and she said some people aren’t as blessed as we are,” Jayera told WBBM-TV.
That's when she came up with a plan to help the families in her community who may not own a washer and dryer or can't afford to wash their clothes at a laundromat.
The teenager raised about $1,000 for Tuesday's "Free Wash Day" event at Mama's Coin Laundry Cleaners.
“It will help drastically because they wouldn’t get talked about as much. Because it lowers their self-esteem,” Jayera said. “Once they get that esteem boost they’ll feel much better and they’ll pay attention more to their education.”
What did community members say?
Like many others who attended the event, Keochia Alexander, a mother of two, was grateful for Jayera's efforts.
"I'm glad she is seeing something that maybe we adults don't see it times. Maybe our kids clothes should be a little bit cleaner. I really appreciated her for raising the money,” Alexander told WGN-TV.
What did Jayera's parents say?
Jayera's parents said she's not a stranger to helping others.
“We raised her to be like this, where she knows to give and help out other people. A lot of people don’t have what we have and don’t have the luck we have. I'm very proud of her,” Jayera's dad, Michael Griffin, said.
Jayera is already planning to have another "Free Wash Day" in August before the new school year starts and hopes to make it an annual spring break event. She also wants to raise money to buy clothes that she can donate to those in need.
It just makes me happy," Jayera said. "I don't want anything from it, I just want to make other people happy."