TUPELO • Alexis Hatchett may not be a hairstylist, but she knows the impact hair can have on a child’s self esteem. The first Style-A-Child Hairstyle Giveaway from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Tupelo Gymnastics Center will allow children to receive free hairstyles.
The event is targeted at 15 and under, though Hatchett said they will accept anyone under 18. While she originally targeted the event at girls, she said the response from mothers calling for their sons led her to make the event open to boys as well.
Hatchett said the event’s inspiration occurred approximately two weeks ago. On social media, she saw a similar event hosted by a group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On a whim, she made a post about doing a similar event for Tupelo and said she was overwhelmed by the response. While she is the organizer, she emphasizes the event is not about her.
“It’s about the people who came together to participate and the people it’s going to impact the most, which are the children,” Hatchett said.
The hair giveaway will feature 12 stylists. She said approximately 20 people donated snacks for the event, which will have free food and door prizes.
As a parent, Hatchett said she knew community outreach was something that stuck out to her. When she saw pictures of kids smiling and excited after getting their hair done at the Michigan event, she began thinking about the impact it could have in Tupelo.
She was inspired in part by her own experiences in school and working within the school system. She remembered kids being bullied with comments about their clothing and hair and said often, kids go through bullying without really talking about it.
“(This event is) just to help some people feel good and kids feel good. I think sometimes we just have to take the first step and me taking the first step with this will hopefully help some kids feel better ... for a couple of weeks,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett said she wanted to organize the event to help people benefit from free hairstyles and have a fresh hairstyle going into the holidays.
For the event, children will need to arrive with a clean scalp and their hair blown out or detangled, Hatchett said. Children will have the choice between two hairstyles: four feed-in braids or natural hair braids. Anyone who wants a feed-in style must bring their own weave.
Volunteers will be on hand to help attendees register when they enter the event. They will also help attendees while waiting for stylists and connecting with stylists. Hatchett also hopes the event helps the stylists build relationships with some of the parents and serves as a learning experience for parents who need to learn more about stylists.
Hatchett said stylists would “play it by ear” Sunday to see what max capacity would be, which could be at approximately 100 children.
She hopes the event has a great turnout and impacts the community. Her goal is to show how multiple people coming together can make a movement and how it doesn’t always take a lot of time and money to make an impact. She wants to host the event next year with more planning and may expand the event.
“I want my kids and my families that come to feel great because at the end of the day, in my opinion, it’s about the kids,” Hatchett said.