ASTORIA, N.Y. — Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) and non-profit Zone 126 jointly announced the expansion of a free laundry service for Queens families in need, after the program’s initial three months showed a 12% increase in school attendance for those participating.
SUDZ for School Success launched here at 14th Street Laundry in February, giving 30 families in Astoria and Long Island City free laundry services for a year so that their students could focus on going to school rather than worrying about their clothes.
With the start of the initiative showing a clear benefit to participating families, program leaders announced plans to expand SUDZ to another 75 middle school and high school families.
“We’re so proud to see the measurable positive results of students attending school more often after we launched the laundry program earlier this year,” says Serge Abergel, chief operating officer of Hydro-Quebec Energy Services (CHPE is a transmission line being built between the Canada-U.S. border and New York City). “This has been a great success in terms of helping families reduce student absenteeism, ensuring continued learning and development.”
“We welcome Long Island City High School, with its vast history of academic excellence and community engagement, to the Zone 126/14th Laundry partnership,” says 14th Street Laundry owner Demetrios Vasiadis. “This will extend the program’s mission by ensuring that laundry is one less thing for their students to worry about. With the addition of Long Island City High School, Laundry Zone 126 is now serving an even broader and more diverse community, and we look forward to building lasting relationships with the students, staff, and families of this outstanding school.”
The expansion was celebrated at a press conference earlier this month at the school’s Family Night. Roughly one-quarter of its 2,000 students reside in NYC Housing Authority public housing or local shelters.
“I cannot thank CHPE and Hydro-Quebec enough for their commitment to supporting our organization and our local schools in combating chronic absenteeism,” says Zone 126 Executive Director Dr. Anju J. Rupchandani. “To have these two groups see a challenge such as clean clothes being a barrier to student attendance and commit to being a partner in this work and look to expand what works, is the definition of partnership success.”
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