Group tackles soap dispensers as first project at Ramona schools

Greg Chick, one of the founding members of Friends of Ramona Unified Schools (FORUS) and owner of Ramona’s

Greg Chick installs a Vandalproof dispenser in the boys locker room bathroom at Ramona High. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Plumber, was in the boys locker room at Ramona High School recently installing Vandalproof soap dispensers — at no cost to the school district.

The need for soap dispensers and soap in some student bathrooms in the Ramona Unified School District came to the attention of FORUS when teachers said they keep hand sanitizer in their classrooms because there sometimes is no soap in the student bathrooms. Reasons vary from students knocking soap dispensers off the wall or wasting all the soap in one use to a school just not having soap in a student restroom.

FORUS, a California public benefit corporation applying for nonprofit status, consists of a group of Ramonans who have been meeting almost weekly in the Ramona Sentinel since March 11. Established after the school bond bid failed in November, the group’s goal is to fill gaps in student needs at Ramona Unified.

They’ve discussed everything from reroofing schools and replacing heating and air conditioning units to energy

The covering for this plastic dispenser has been ripped off the wall.

conservation projects and defibrillators at each school. But until FORUS achieves 501(c)(3) status, it’s starting with what Fundraising Chair Dr. Jane Tanaka calls the Soap Project.

As a doctor, Tanaka understands the connection between soapless student bathrooms and school attendance, a factor that contributes to school funding.

Members of FORUS’ steering committee donated money for eight Vandalproof soap dispensers and two cases of soap for each.

Chick used six steel toggle bolts to mount each “kid-proof” dispenser.

“I think it’s a good way to prevent the kids from trying to damage them, because the plastic (dispensers now at the school) don’t work at all,” Tom Fitzpatrick, lead custodian at Ramona High said as Chick finished installing one Vandalproof dispenser.

A plastic soap dispenser knocked off the wall sits on the floor of the Ramona High School boys locker room bathroom.

Before he left the boys locker room, he demonstrated how the “timed-out” dispenser works — one push, one squirt of soap, just enough to wash your hands.

FORUS introduced itself to the public at the Rotary July 4 Family Picnic and Fireworks, where members sold bottles of soap bubbles to raise money for more dispensers.

“FORUS would like to thank the many folks who bought soap bubbles at the fireworks,” said Tanaka. “They helped us raise an additional $400.”

Plumber Greg Chick of Friends of Ramona Unified Schools demonstrates the “timed-out” soap dispenser feature. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Anyone wishing to donate may mail a check made out to Friends of Ramona Unified Schools, noting it is for the Soap Project, to Dr. Jane Tanaka, FORUS Fundraising Chair, 15725 Snuz Mountain Road, Ramona, CA 92065.

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  4. Federal grants keep after-school programs alive at 2 Ramona high schools
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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jul 17 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Comments for “Group tackles soap dispensers as first project at Ramona schools”

  1. Jane Tanaka MD

    When I was a medical student at UCSD, my colleagues and I volunteered in Mexican orphanages , teaching kids to use soap and water to clean their hands after using the toilet, to prevent dyssentery, and lessen the spread of respiratory and skin infections. I never imagined that one day, the US community I work in/live in would have no soap for students in their bathrooms. Our kids are absent to the extent of the district losing $300K plus a year. When kids get sick, parents miss work and get sick also. As far as I know, the only other school district other than RUSD, in relatively close proximity , with lack of soap/dispensers is Hemet .
    Folks from Poway, Lajolla and even Santa Monica have sent in checks to help us. Please, Ramonans, dont just shake your heads in dismay. We are NOT enabling the district administration/board… we still hold them accountable for this. Please donate a bit so we can get 100 dispensers and 2 years of soap donated to RUSD.. before school reopens if possible.

  2. Benjamin Young

    There are just some students who may be tripping that they just find it fun to destroy stuff. Perhaps they just need some awareness and education to throw that bad attitude away.

    • Jane Tanaka MD

      Agree with you, Benjamin.
      But because we are not in control of their attitudes/anger issues, the
      soap dispensers we are installing, and the way they are installed, are
      vandal-proof enought for prison inmates. A broken hand or broken foot
      will be the result of intentionally trying to break these off the walls. ( ie, instant education and natural consequence ) .. a no making up stories about the soap dispenser attacking you !

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