School may not be reopening under normal circumstances this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean kids’ routines to get ready for the school year should change.
One important component of that is, simply, getting a haircut. And thanks to a Back-to-School event at Berston Fieldhouse on August 29, several Flint kids will have a fresh cut whether they’re doing face-to-face or virtual cuts.
“Haircuts help build self-esteem,” said DeShonda Overton, President of Charity C.U.T.S. (Children Unified To Succeed), a Flint nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life for youth in the city through mentoring, workshops, and haircuts. “If they feel good, like they want to get on camera and show everyone their new haircut or new shirt, that definitely helps them.”
Charity C.U.T.S. was founded in 2014 by Roy Nichols, Overton’s brother. Nichols is a lifelong Flint resident who started the organization, simply, to give back to his community.
“It just stems from giving back to the community and who raised me and being a positive role model however I can,” Nichols said. “Due to the crisis we’re living through, I just wanted to do something to uplift the spirits of the kids.”
The haircuts were part of a back-to-school event organized at Berston Fieldhouse by Bryant Nolden, Executive Director of the Friends of Berston Fieldhouse, State Rep. Cynthia Neeley, and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. At the event, kids were able to pick up backpacks, school supplies, and Halloween costumes in addition to getting their hair cut.
“Just getting a haircut can change the overall perspective of a child’s personality,” Nolden said. “It just gives them a feeling that they’re getting ready to start school.”
Nichols cuts Nolden’s hair, and that’s where the idea for adding haircuts to the event first came up. Nolden said they plan to partner at future events to offer free haircuts.
Cynthia Neeley was encouraged by the number of people that turned out and hopes the kids and teachers in the community feel supported.
“It’s very important to give a little normalcy right now,” she said. “The pandemic throws a curve for all the kids, it doesn’t feel like a regular school year. I just hope everyone stays encouraged, I know this is different and hard for everyone, just want them to know we are behind the students and behind the teachers and we’re all here to help.”