An inspirational eighth grader from Riverdale, Illinois has used her own pocket money and gathered donations to host a free laundry day for people in need in her local community.
Fourteen-year-old Jayera, a straight-A student and member of the Washington Junior High School Honor Society, noticed that some of the students she was tutoring often came to school in dirty clothes. She decided to start saving her $5 weekly allowance and collect donations from the community, raising over $900 for the event.
“It will help drastically because they wouldn’t get talked about as much,” said Jayera about her initiative. “Because it lowers their esteem. Once they get that esteem boost they’ll feel much better and they’ll pay attention more to their education.”
“We’re really proud of her,” Jayera’s mother, Tanya Williams, told the Chicago Tribune. “She had mentioned that when she tutored kids, sometimes their uniforms were dirty. She came up with the idea on her own.”
Jayera’s father, Michael Griffin, said that she has always been considerate of other people, volunteering at food pantries and performing random acts of kindness.
“She’s been doing community service since she was a little shorty,” he said.
After spreading the word throughout her neighborhood and school, dozens of people visited Mama’s Coin Laundry, where Jayera used the funds to provide free washing for all who need it.
“This is awesome,” said Rita Meadows, a senior citizen who made use of the service. “This is the first time I’ve seen something like this, where somebody thought of the community. She truly is an angel.”
The neighborhood where Jayera’s family lives is struggling, with many businesses closed down. According to Illinois School Report Card information for the Dolton-Riverdale School District, 94.6% of the 2,100 students in the area are low-income, and 5.3% of the students at her high school are homeless.
After the success of the free event, Jayera says she wants to carry on and hold another free wash day for the students before they return to school after summer break in a few months. She also has plans to raise money to buy clothes for people in need.
“It just makes me happy,” said Jayera. “I don’t’ want anything from it, I just want to make other people happy.”