“Bubbles..Bubbles!” Toddlers, beauty queens, retired teachers, and others came to play and dance in streams of bubbles from our bubble machine. Many came to look at one of the hundred Vandalproof soap dispensers to be installed in student bathrooms throughout Ramon Unified School District.
About 100 people donated $2 for a bottle of soap bubbles at our FORUS (Friends of Ramona Unified Schools) booth at the Fourth of July event at Olive Peirce Middle School prior to the fireworks. A couple of hundred dollars raised at the event and another $300 in pledges generated from online pleas will be added to the $1,500 donated by members of FORUS for the “Soap Project.”
Damaged beyond repair by vandals, who repeatedly break plastic soap dispensers, many bathrooms at Ramona Elementary, Barnett Elementary, OPMS and Ramona High School do not have soap or soap dispensers.
According to the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization, consistent evidence shows that hand washing with soap at critical times — before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet — can reduce diarrheal risk by 45 percent and acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia by 23 percent. Studies also reveal that primary school absenteeism due to diarrhoea and respiratory infections dropped between 20 percent and 50 percent as a result of better hand washing practices .
RUSD averages a 5 percent student absentee rate. In 2011-12 at Ramona Unified, 473 chronically absent students cost the district $355,566.77, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. If the majority of absences are due to infectious disease, then $20,000 in soap dispensers/soap in our schools could save RUSD up to $180,000 in a year.
To make a donation to the FORUS soap project, please mail a check made out to “Friends of Ramona Unified Schools,” noting it is for the Soap Project, and mail to Jane Tanaka, FORUS Fundraising Chair, 15725 Snuz Mountain Road, Ramona, CA 92065.
FORUS is a California public benefit corporation applying for 501(c)(3) status.
Jane Tanaka, M.D.