LIMA — As she watched the rows of students file into her salon for their back-to-school haircuts, Ahmee Elite Design owner Leslie Schuh couldn’t help but wonder about the children whose families could not afford her services.
Instead of feeling sorry for them, Schuh decided to do something about it. She teamed up with a social worker at Elida schools who was able to identify the neediest students, and partnered with Fresh N Faded hair studio to offer these children multiple options for their back-to-school haircuts.
The initiative, which Schuh has dubbed “Bulldog Bucks for Cuts,” allowed 50 families at Elida schools to earn a free haircut for their children.
“It was really a group effort,” Schuh said. “The girls at my salon jumped on board, I came to Fresh N Faded and they welcomed it with open arms. Nobody said no. It’s amazing what one act of kindness can do to help everyone be a little bit happier.”
Though it started as a program for Elida students, Schuh hopes to expand Bucks for Cuts to school districts across the region.
“I’m putting a challenge out to the other salons to connect with a school that is near and dear to their heart, or to a school that is in a district where their salons area,” she said. “The more kids’ lives we can touch, the happier the community will be.”
Schuh said the ultimate goal is to make the program a yearly tradition. She hopes that more salons will come on board, and that any student who otherwise cannot afford a salon-quality haircut will be able to receive one.
“Let’s make this an ongoing thing, let’s build the program and let’s reach out to as many people as we can,” she said.
For Schuh, the free haircuts are all about building self-esteem. She said that looking good leads to feeling good, which can translate into all aspects of a child’s life.
“If they are able to stand a little taller, smile a little broader and walk confidently into that school, they’re bound to be more successful,” she said.
Salon owners who are interested in being a part of the program may call Schuh at 567-204-1634 or stop into the salon at 3101 W. Elm St., suite 400.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.