ROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times
A new school year is upon the area, and children and parents are preparing for it in several ways, including new clothing and school supplies.
One thing many young people get before heading back to the classroom, though, is a haircut, and for a few years, Liberal’s Sunflower Elementary has been helping families with that expense.
From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. this coming Thursday, the school is once again offering free haircuts, as well as hot dogs, to its students with the help of several local stylists.
Sunflower Assistant Principal Teresa Childress said the event first took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We as a building decided we would like to have a free haircut night and family night for our students,” she said. “We started that. We did that a year, and COVID hit, so we took a couple years off.”
The event, Childress said, started again last year after COVID case numbers began to decline, and a second event was added during the spring semester.
“We feel it’s a service to our students and their families,” she said.
Sunflower parent coordinators Wendy Aguilar and Mayra Francis contact local stylists to see if they can donate time for the haircuts, and for Thursday’s event, there is a good list of barbers.
That list includes independent stylists Gabby Gomez, Rachel Camacho and Brianna Saldana. Stylists from several salons are donating time as well, including:
• Pure Bliss Salon and Day Spa – Stanley and Tara Cordova, Silvia Pando, Amy Williams, Claudia Garcia and Amy Martinez
• Beauty Bar Z – Mayra Zapien
• His Image Barber Shop – Nate Villalona
• Mark of Beauty – Tina Ward, Liliana Hernandez and Blake Ward
• Diligence Barber Lounge – Alexis Bonilla and Sarai Neswine
Aguilar said Sunflower leaders have received many phone calls from people wanting to participate
“They love to help our students and families,” she said. “We have around 15 stylists who want to participate right now. We’re so thankful for them and that we can help our families at Sunflower.”
Childress said the spring haircuts and hot dogs event brought in about 100 students, and for Thursday, she is expecting about the same amount.
“We’ve had some people call in and add their child to our list,” she said. “It’s been very successful. The parents are very thankful. We usually give them food. We have some of it ready to go.”
Childress said when the haircuts and hot dog nights first started at Sunflower, school staff would donate hot dogs and buns for the food portion of the event. Now, school officials have reached out to the community for involvement in that regard.
“They look to forward to it every semester,” she said. “They usually ask, ‘Okay when’s our next one?’ We have people staged in the kitchen to help, people stationed to greet people when they come in. We have teachers and paras stationed. Every time a child gets their haircut, we have someone sweep the hair up and throw it away. They’re all very willing to help, and they really enjoy the event.”
Local businesses Gallo Pinto and El Ranchito are donating buns and hot dogs for this year’s event.
Childress said many of those who help out often inquire about the date for the next event, eagerly waiting to volunteer.
“We’ve had a lot of people call in recently, and they say, ‘We saw this on Facebook. We’re ready to help out again,’” she said.
Aguilar said students are just as excited for the event.
“When they saw us walk in, they knew it was for haircut night, and they didn’t have a second thought about helping us,” she said. “They automatically said ‘yes.’ We were very thankful for that as well. It made us feel awesome.”
Childress said a night like Thursday would not be possible without the stylists coming in to cut hair.