By Southwester Staff

Volunteers hold up a “Support SW Youth Car Wash” sign; Courtesy of Perry Klein

When Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) Youth Activities Task Force members Thelma D. Jones and Gabriele “Gabi” Strauch, Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, began discussing plans last summer for the first-ever car wash fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 12, they had no idea that it would turn out so successful. The morning was gloomy and overcast, and the first customer did not arrive until around 11 a.m., yet the rain stayed away. But as they say, when it rains, it pours, and after that first car, the cars did not stop rolling in until after 3 p.m. Benefiting the SWNA Youth Activities Task Force’s (YATF) proposed mural painting and photography class for SW Youth to document their everyday living, the fundraiser netted approximately $400 and achieved its goals. The effort produced washed vehicles, brought the community together in a socially distanced car-washing fashion, provided a volunteer opportunity for a host of community residents and friends, and created a lot of fun on what turned out to be a beautiful day. A special thanks goes to Perry Klein, the entire SW Action team, SW BID, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, and Amy Billingsley, as well as Westminster Presbyterian Church Co-Pastor Ruth Hamilton, Vyllorya Evans, and Debbie Jefferson for providing the complimentary space and needed supplies, including water and a long hose. 

Mike Jackson puts in a little elbow grease; Courtesy of Perry Klein

While the volunteers washed at least 15 vehicles at $15 each, much of the proceeds from the fundraiser came from residents and other patrons who tipped generously for the service, including one person who tipped $35 and washed her own car. Others donated as they passed the car wash and felt that it was for a great cause. Special thanks to volunteers Douglas Hall, Michael Jackson, Jeanne Mattison, Mary Beth Moore, Kathleen O’Neill, Joneis Sterling, Logan Sterling, Yvonne Thelwell, and Barbara Keary. 

Washing an oversized vehicle and standing atop of a chair, which his Nana Thelma D. Jones was holding securely, Seneca Jones, 10, splashed water everywhere and at times made a big mess, which enthusiastically summed it all up. “Nana, this is great,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes! “Why is this so much fun?” SWNA YATF will host a spring car wash benefit again in 2021, so if you missed getting your car washed this time around, never fear! A spot can be reserved in the spring. For information on SWNA YATF, call Thelma D. Jones at (202) 251-1639 or email thelma@swna.or

It was a busy afternoon of suds and sponges at Westminster; Courtesy of Perry Klein

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