Monday, April 27, 2009
Locks of Love
Of the 22 Homewood (Alabama) girls who started growing their hair in September, eight have made the final cut so far. Other members of the Shades Cahaba Elementary School after-school Locks of Love Club had hoped to have their ponytails snipped for donation to their namesake cancer charity by last Friday.
They named their group Locks of Love, inspired by the nonprofit organization that collects donated tresses to be woven into wigs for cancer patients who lose their natural locks due to treatments. Several hadn’t quite made the 10-inch minimum required by the agency, said Lisa Mooresmith, a first-grade teacher who co-founded the group with Rebecca Smith, a fourth-grade teacher.
The mission to donate their hair was the catalyst that started the club of children in grades three, four, and five, which meets monthly. Now, there’s much more than charity on its agenda.
Mooresmith and Smith saw the half-hour sessions as another opportunity to emphasize character education, for which the school has received national recognition. The teachers, with help from school counselor Delisa Brooks, aimed to help the girls gain confidence and self-esteem, acknowledge accomplishments and express concerns, Mooresmith said.
Students who completed surveys in September had a hard time coming up with positive attributes and achievements about themselves, Mooresmith said. That gave her and Smith goals.
“Conversations have been great,” Mooresmith said. “We’ve talked about school, getting along with peers, dealing with differences with best friends, and the trepidation most fourth- and fifth-graders feel about the transition to middle school.”
There’s also been music and lots of giggling. “Our main responsibility is academics,” said school Principal Sue Grogan. “But we don’t teach just academics. We want to teach the mind and the spirit of the child.”
Grogan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, shared her journey and optimistic prognosis with her students. She donated her hair to the Locks of Love project, but under special circumstances. There’s a big demand for gray hair, so Grogan said the Locks of Love representatives were happy to receive the six inches she was able to donate for a short wig.
You know. There are still great kids in the world! Unfortunately, their stories aren’t often told and they aren’t told enough! Way to go Shades Cahaba Elementary girls! We are proud of you!