Students in colleges and universities across the country have started their Spring semesters, beginning with all new tests, back to not sleeping, running off caffeine and the usual. One last obstacle still remains as Spring break is coming up; getting a hair cut. Critiques and suggestions came in all shapes and sizes. Anything from the subtle, “Can I make an appointment for you to get a trim while you’re home?” to the coarser, “You’re starting to look like a homeless person!” Parents may just wanted to know why their son or daughter would grow their hair out. Well, why would someone grow his or her hair out?
For most people today, hair is simply the end result of the accumulation of cells to form fine, thread-like structures extending out from the hair follicle to provide covering and warmth. From parents’ perspective, hair length is sometimes seen as a way to rebel as part of new social movements that began in the sixties.
Long hair during that tumultuous 10 year span was a way to identify oneself as a member of a group. The “long-haired” versus the “conservative square.”
The meaning of hair as a symbol may have broken off into many different avenues, whether it is to be identified with a group or as an individual, for shock value, or simply because the barber was having an “off” day, hair seems to always attract attention.
As college students, many of us live away at school and out of parental jurisdiction. Along with the many other liberties taken upon ditching the ‘rents, many males go with the flow and let the hair grow.
Is it possible that by shedding the shears and cultivating the curls that someone would be able to change the life of a complete stranger for the better? Well, as far as long hair’s ability to improve lives, it is true. A friend of mine who had found himself in a similar quandary pointed me in the direction of the path through which this seemingly selfless act can be performed, a non-profit organization called “Locks of Love.”
The mission of Locks of Love, as stated by their Web site, is:
“To return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children.”
The Locks of Love organization was started by Madonna Coffman, who initially teamed up with a for-profit wig retailer, but in December of 1997, Locks of Love received clearance from the IRS to work as a not-for-profit agency.
Mrs. Coffman, who suffered from hair loss due to alopecia in her 20’s, felt compelled to help others in similar situations. Fifteen years after she recovered, her daughter lost all of her hair as a result of alopecia when she was four years old. It was at that time that Coffman set aside all other charity work and took on Locks of Love as a full time volunteer in the hopes of helping her daughter and others like her cope with hair loss as a result of diagnosis.
Since the program began, there have been over 2,000 children under the age of 18 in the United States and Canada fitted with hairpieces manufactured from those who were brave enough to go the extra inch, or ten, and grow their hair out to donate to Locks of Love.
For people with long hair, it’s still growing, and Locks of Love will take donations allowing one person to help many others. Locks of Lock organization is one reason for people to grow their hair long before cutting it, allowing them the option to donate the excess. When growing one’s hair out, keep Locks of love in mind, if one chooses to donate hair, remember then one could say that they are helping others.
For further information regarding Locks of Love and the requirements for acceptable hair donations visit their website at www.locksoflove.org.
D.J. Baker is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at DB599965@wcupa.edu.