‘A haircut is a big thing’: Kansas City school kids get new hairstyles for the holidays | KCUR 89.3

On Friday, the students of Faxon Elementary walked out of the classroom and settled into the barber chair to get a new look for the holidays.

Children crowded into the school gymnasium to receive a free haircut, braid or twist from local barbers and cosmetologists. Meanwhile, other students watched their classmates in makeshift barber chairs in the gymnasium as they played wrestling and hula-hoop to Christmas music.

Layla Owens, the mother of a sixth-grader, said her son Kahlil was determined to get his hair twisted and styled.

“His hair is so important to him that he’ll tell me he can’t sleep at night because his hair is too long on the sides,” Owens said. “He does a really good job of keeping his hair up. And it all depends on his appearance, so he is very adamant about his appearance.


Kahlil Owens, a sixth-grader at Faxon Elementary School, gets his hair done for the holidays.

Kahlil said he wanted to get his hair done for free at school because his mother says it’s usually expensive.

That’s why barber Christopher Harris said he wanted to help give students new haircuts ahead of winter break. During the holiday season, he said some parents don’t have money to spend and he wants to make sure their kids look and feel good.

“It’s a great thing to sit in class and have people make jokes about you. It’s hard to just focus when your hair isn’t cut and all that,” Harris said. “And a haircut is a big thing for any boy…and I’m just here to make the kids feel good.”

Before their kids sat down for their new look, parents heard about the importance of hair history, texture and care.

The event was organized by The Walker Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides free hair styling services to adopted and foster children. It recently expanded its services to local school systems.

A woman stands using an electric razor to groom a young man's head.  Behind them is another man cutting the hair of the first boy's twin brother.

Carlos Moreno


KCUR 89.3

Stephanie Gilmore, left, uses an electric razor on KeMari Livingston, 11, while her son, Chris Harris, gives KeMari’s twin brother KeRon Livingston a haircut at Faxon Elementary Friday.

Aisha Walker, president of the organization, said the black community needs these kinds of services.

“Hair services are very expensive in our culture. You can actually easily spend over three or $400 just to get your hair done,” Walker said. “It’s very important to us not only to give back with free hair products and free hairstyles, but also to teach what good products and hairstyles are to make sure we use them the right way.”

Tasha Lawson has twins in fifth grade. She says it means a lot to her that the foundation provides these kinds of services during the holiday season.

“There are people who can’t afford to have their hair cut, wear clothes or toys for their children,” Lawson. “I’m grateful. I’m 100% grateful to you.”

As Kahlil sat having his hair twisted, he was already making plans for what he was going to do in his freshly styled hair.

“To go into people’s homes and show it off and also to open my presents,” Owens said.

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