Special kids corner unveiled inside Milwaukee laundromat

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MILWAUKEE (CBS) -- A new addition to a south side Milwaukee laundromat is giving kids their own corner. A new family "Read, Play, Learn" space was unveiled Thursday, Feb. 10 at the Blue Kangaroo on 29th and Greenfield Avenue.

The space is a lounge area for kids to spend time while their parents do their laundry. "Now parents don't have to worry about kids running around. They have something to do and they're safe," said Priscilla Perez, Blue Kangaroo manager. Perez is a mother herself and says she understands how difficult it can be for families of young children to get their laundry done inside the facility and keep track of their kids. She manages the 11th Street Blue Kangaroo location where she says this idea is already working. "We have parents donating things for the kids to use," she said.

Books in the space are bilingual and aim to support kids culturally. More than 25 percent of the books will also cover financial literacy.

The project is a partnership between the city, public library, Laundry Cares Foundation, and North Shore Bank.

"This is only an extension of what North Shore Bank has been doing in the past. To be able to have this partnership with the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Library, Blue Kangaroo, we are excited to be in this partnership which we know is going to help a lot of families in our neighborhoods," said Alfredo Martin, North Shore Bank Branch manager. In the space, there are also giant Math Pattern decals to support early math learning.

The 29th Street location is the second Read, Play, Learn space on the south side of Milwaukee. There are two others operating. The first opened in 2019 at Riverworks Coin Laundry and the second opened in 2020 inside the children's court waiting center at Vel Phillips Juvenile Justice Center.

"This is one of the most important things we can do in this city. Working towards making sure our kids have the opportunity to get on a good path forward," said Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Officials say there are plans in the works to add six to eight more "Read, Play, Learn" locations across Milwaukee County.

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