By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Sept. 5, 2019) Ten youth apparently got more than just a haircut Sunday in Berlin, they also received boost in confidence before heading back to school.
“Hair is a cultural thing, so for the kids to be able to have a nice hairstyle to go back to school year, it’s starts the school year off really good,” said Tiffany Scott, youth program director at Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services. “It gives them a sense of pride and boosts their confidence.”
Scott organized the free event at D-stinct D-signs Barbershop on Flower Street with the help of hair stylist Keyanda Williams and barber Emanuel Fletcher.
Scott said Williams is her personal hair stylist at Loc-Nation, a salon in Salisbury.
“We’re always brainstorming different ideas to come up with for the kids, because I like doing extra curricular activities too. So we’re always here brainstorming ways to make the Worcester county community better,” Williams said.
Williams, and her assistant, Mikaylah Wilson, gave six girls new looks for back to school. They could choose from several styles, including braids, a natural press,which is when a girl’s hair is flat-ironed, and sew-ins, which involves sewing hair into a braid on a head.
Fletcher, who works at D-stinct D-signs Barbershop, gave fades, tape ups and all-even cuts to four boys.
Fletcher said his daughter participates in Berlin Youth Club, and he spoke with Scott about the idea of donating his time to provide free services to the children.
“I’m always [trying] to give back as much as I can, how I can,” Fletcher said. “This is just one way I feel I can do it for the kids that are underprivileged and … parents already spending a whole lot for all the school shopping season, so it’s just one small way I figured I could help.”
Williams said she was grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m very thankful and grateful to be able to give back to the kids,” Williams said. “Not a lot of people are able to do it or even have the time to do it, but … I’ll always squeeze in time for the kids.”
Scott said that for some of the children who participated on Sunday, it was their first time in a barbershop.
“So it just wasn’t about the style, it was about their experience as well,” Scott said. “A barbershop within the African-American community, or a hair salon, is a place where people go to connect as well.”
Scott said children enrolled in Worcester Youth programs, Berlin Youth Club or a family member of a child involved were eligible to take advantage of the free services.
Scott said the children also learned a lesson in accountability. She said they had to choose an appointment time, and needed to be prompt on Sunday.
“So it got them started on how to maintain a schedule, how to arrive on time, how to keep your word, so it was a lot of different skills that went into this,” she said.
Additionally, Scott said that Jami Smith, an entrepreneur who owns Dolls Society, an online hair product business, and donated supplies for the events.
Scott praised Smith and Williams for their efforts and wanted the children taking advantage of programs in Worcester Youth to understand that their futures are bright.
“I wanted to inspire them,” Scott said. “Here are these young professionals and they’re really doing good in their field. So, just letting them know that anything is possible.”