Community

For the love of laundry: Nelson donation helps get clothes clean

Cutline: Bradley McNee, Max Bonten, Dillon Hamling, and Josh Carr (L-R) from the Sequoia Learning Centre happily accept a donated washer and dryer from Sears’ Barry Marsh (right). A homemade Valentine’s Day bouquet was offered in gratitude. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
Cutline: Bradley McNee, Max Bonten, Dillon Hamling, and Josh Carr (L-R) from the Sequoia Learning Centre happily accept a donated washer and dryer from Sears’ Barry Marsh (right). A homemade Valentine’s Day bouquet was offered in gratitude.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo

A Valentine’s Day donation by Sears has 17 young men excited about laundry.

This year’s crop of students at Sequoia Learning Centre are all male – and after a donation from Sears this week – a washer and dryer, they’re all getting a chance to learn about laundry.

Kelly Mikkelson came to Sequoia in January as a student engaged in the practical component of her social service worker program through Selkirk College. She took on the “Project Clean Clothes” after it was determined students would benefit from having clean clothes for job interviews.

“This really builds a sense of responsibility by making sure that their appearance was taken into consideration as they venture out in this world as our upcoming adult population,” Mikkelson says. “This is something that many of us would not even consider as we take our own clean clothes for granted.”

Sequoia is an extension of the Mt. Sentinel School. It was developed by Janis Chernenkoff with the support of the school district to help students – boys and girls, at risk who are eager for the chance to complete their education at their own pace.

“Putting time and energy into them and then watching them drop out was too difficult for me and I really wanted to catch them before they gave up completely,” says Chernenkoff, who taught at Brent Kennedy Elementary school for almost 20 years prior to Sequoia.

The washer and dryer will also be used to clean and dry coats, snow pants and mitts after students engage in the outdoor program. Kitchen laundry will now be done onsite as well, says Chernenkoff who has been taking things home to do on her own time.

“It goes back to contributing to the unit you’re part of,” she says of the students taking on laundry duties.

When contacted by Sequoia, Sears’ Barry Marsh was eager to lend a hand by donating a Kenmore front load washer and dryer.

“It sounded like something that could use my help,” says Marsh.

Chernenkoff says the life skills learned at the school are one thing but the lesson of community assistance is also huge as it shows a widespread pride of the program

“This may not seem like a lot to someone else but to us, it’s really big,” she says. “Knowing they have the support of the community, these young men are becoming fine young men.”

As Mikkelson gots to know the students attending Sequoia, her initial concerns about working with troubled teenaged boys were dispelled. At first she found the idea unpredictable and was uncertain.

“I was proven wrong and these boys soon won over my confidence and trust with their genuine desire to succeed no matter what obstacles they were facing,” she says. “I became aware of how important this school was going to be to these boys and how the life skills they were learning from her would impact them for the rest of their life.”

Mikkelson is also working to get Sequoia online. For more information check them out on Facebook.

 

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