Erica Page, at left, and Kathy Wade, at right, engage with a Loads of Love program participant in a session at the Avondale Town Center Super Laundry on 3545 Reading Road in Avondale. Photo provided
‘Second Cycle’ underway
By Carissa Ray
After the program proved a success in 2019, Loads of Love is back – utilizing social-distancing protocols and extensive COVID precautions to provide free laundry services paired with life skills classes to two groups of local participants.
As you can see on the program’s Facebook page article about the 2019 program, the program helped participants:
• Learn to money-manage and pay off bills
• Incorporate exercise into their routine
• Learn to cook a meal at home with a very small budget
• And foster a sense of community – increasingly important in these times of isolation
Loads of Love: Life Skills Through Laundry begins the Second Cycle of the program back in the laundromat after 2019 success – meeting people in their neighborhoods (utilizing COVID-19 precautions) – to provide free laundry and life-skills sessions during the wash and dry laundry cycles.
Loads of Love: Life Skills Through Laundry is designed to help 11 heads of households build sustainable life skills, while they perform a necessary component of modern-day living: laundry at Avondale Town Center Super Laundry. Child-care and transportation is being provided to participants.
Eleven participants met at the Avondale Town Center Super Laundry on 3545 Reading Road in Avondale to take advantage of free laundry services, while reinforcing valuable life skills and reaffirming their aspirations.
Kathy Wade, CEO of Learning Through Art, is leading the project. “What we want is to ignite the possible, and to empower our participants to become their brightest light, and to share that with their families. Our goal is to help change the trajectory of the participants’ lives. The hope is that what they learn will have a ripple effect so it’s not just the individual, but the entire family that is positively affected.”
Prior participants describe Loads of Love as a program that helped them build confidence, improved their mood and connected them to helpful resources to improve their lives.
Wade adds, “We’re meeting people where they are to provide sustainable life skills. We keep it simple and meaningful so that when they graduate and participate in the Last Load Ceremony, they feel empowered and ready to manage life’s challenges – including new challenges brought on by the pandemic – in new and different ways.”
The 2019 program results demonstrated the impact on participants including: money management by successfully paying off debt; incorporating exercise into their routine; creating meals on a shoe-string budget; and fostering a sense of community – which is increasingly important in these times of isolation.
The highly interactive Suds Sessions kicked off with Reginald Harris, Therapist, creatively engaging participants in Rocks, Roll, Paper, Relax with effective stress management and relaxation methods that lead to goal setting self-affirmations.
Loads of Love: Life Skills Through Laundry is created by Kathy Wade and Erica Page, PhD, and powered by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Avondale Partnership and Investment-Capacity Building Grant, with sponsorship support provided by Avondale Town Center Super Laundry.