A Day at the Barber Shop/Beauty Salon

February 01, 2010

A Day at the Barber Shop/Beauty Salon
A Day at the Barber Shop/Beauty Salon

National Mentoring Month (NMM) is the time each year when our nation spotlights the importance of mentors and the need for every child to have a caring adult in his or her life.  When you serve as a mentor, you enrich your own life as much as you do the life of a child.

This year (2010) for NMM, Chris Draft and the Chris Draft Family Foundation (CDFF) joined together with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBS) in honor and celebration of Martin Luther King Day for “A Day at the Barbershop and Beauty Salon,” to make a difference in the lives of thirty Buffalo youth.

On Saturday, January 16, 2010, thirty “Bigs” with Big Brothers Big Sisters escorted their “Littles” to the barber shop or beauty salon for a day of grooming and mentorship to promote proper grooming techniques while encouraging overall health and wellness.

Both the CDFF and BBBS understand the importance of taking time in a child’s life to simply talk with and encourage them.  It’s the ultimate goal of the CDFF through various initiatives to educate and empower families.  Through “A Day at the Barbershop and Beauty Salon," the foundation was able to show the importance of how just that small change - whether a haircut, hand shake, a look in the eyes or simply asking “how’s your day going” - can make a tremendous difference.

While BBBS stresses that for NMM, even more is the opportunity to make a positive impact on certain youth.  There are so many young males lacking that father figure to simply play catch with, or young females with mothers to bake goodies with. It's the goal of BBBS to provide those quality relationships that are built on friendship and trust and are proven to be a significant positive influence in the life of the child as well as the volunteer.  BBBS says it’s a great time to ask the question, “Who’s Mentoring You?” Whether a teacher, a favorite aunt or uncle, or a coach that believes in them, just having that guidance helps the youth in becoming positive adults in the future, which can be detrimental in a child’s life.

Ms. Alicia Bartsch, Director of Community Relations with BBBS and coordinator of “A Day at the Barbershop and Beauty Salon” said, “We were so excited that our Bigs and Littles could take part in the “A Day at the Barbershop and Beauty Salon” event.  Our focus is to provide youth a caring adult that they can share these types of everyday, little moments with.  It’s during these moments that natural conversation can flow between a child and adult.  Saturday’s event was not just an opportunity for a fresh haircut. It was a chance for our Littles to begin a dialogue with their mentors about self-esteem, health and wellness.  We are grateful to the Chris Draft Family Foundation for offering us this wonderful opportunity.”

The children and their mentors went to The House of Masters Barbershop owned by Mr. Sean Thompson and The Hair Firm Beauty Salon owned by Ms. Leah Mills, and enjoyed a day of grooming and beautifying with fresh haircuts and hair-dos.  The event itself was just as much enjoyment for the barbershop and salon as it was for the participants.

Mills said, “The Hair Firm Salon is dedicated to the advancement of young women in our community, church and families. We would like to thank Chris Draft for choosing our salon for allowing us to participate in this historical event, Martin Luther King Day. Our efforts to make a better self image, and become positive role models for young women and women alike, is our pleasure. We can all remember the first time we visited the hair salon and the experiences we will continue to have.  We vow to have more days like these until every child's needs are met. We pray that more programs like this one will spark other participants to participate in giving back to those in need.  Once again thank you Mr. Chris Draft for your efforts and dedication toward The Hair Firm Salon and the young women of Buffalo New York.”

So for some it may have been just a hair cut, but for the CDFF and BBBS it was a day for both establishments to come together and make a positive difference in the lives of thirty youth. For the youth, it was one step closer towards creating a positive self-image in order to uphold the same confidence, character, and strong values of our beloved Dr. King who stood firmly on what he believed in to make a difference in the lives of all.

For more information on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County visit www.beafriend.org or visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org to make a difference in your community.