Angel Hair for Kids Program (Canada)
Money Is Not the Only Thing We Can Donate
There is a something you might not be aware of, but it plays an important role when it comes to our self-esteem - our hair. In Canada, there is a non-profit organization called, ‘A Child’s Voice Foundation’, which supports the physical and emotional well being of financially disadvantaged children who face illness or disability. This organization was founded by Roslyn Yearwood, who through first-hand experience and research, came to realize that there were literally thousands of children who were falling between the cracks and in need of healthcare, services and basic needs not provided by levels of government or other organizations. In 2006, about 760,000 children were living in poverty, a number that has seen little to no improvement in 17 years. These families are struggling to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter and the goods and services needed to increase their opportunities and life chances.
It was in 1995 that Roslyn made a commitment to those children and created ‘A Child’s Voice Foundation’, a place where ‘kids come first.’ One of their programs is called Angel Hair for Kids (AHK), and this program supports children who have lost their hair due to a medical conditions or treatment, by making a wig for them. It takes 10 -12 donated ponytails to make one hair prosthesis and it costs an additional $800 to $1000 to cover wig manufacturing costs.
Appreciate What You Have
AHK is an interesting example of creative philanthropy. Through this program, donees learn to appreciate their hair, which they often don’t think about at all, while helping children affected by hair loss. Every year, many Canadian children lose their hair due to medical matters such as cancer treatments, alopecia and even burns. The Foundation believes that providing a wig or hair loss solution will increase a child’s self esteem and improve their self-image during an already difficult time in their lives (watch the videos from hair recipients below for testimonials). The Foundation’s objective is to help these face their condition and daily life with a greater confidence and grace.
How to Donate Hair?
Donating hair is simple. Hair must be 12 inches long or more, and it must be clean, dry and free of any chemical treatment or processing. Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the foundation’s office.
Here are a few stories of people who donated their hair:
1) Sabryn’s Birthday Wish
Sabryn wanted an opportunity to give back and make another child happy, so on her birthday, she cut her hair at a hair cutting assembly at Springfield Public School. Sabryn raised funds by using donation jars, holding draws for different prizes and soliciting donations from family members and local businesses, through which she raised $3600. Sabryn now has a great new look, Certificate of Appreciation and teddy bear from the foundation. She gave up her party, gifts and 23 inches of her hair, and in return she was able to help more than one child.
2) What a difference a fresh haircut can make —Dylan
Dylan grew his hair out for two years before cutting it in support of Angel Hair for Kids. He got the idea from another boy on his hockey team who had done the same thing a few years earlier. Dylan realizes that his hair would otherwise just end up in the garbage, and decided to grow it out for AHK and donate his hair too.
It was a long journey that saw Dylan persevere through some challenging times, including battling the heat generated by his long locks while playing summer sports like soccer. He was also sometimes the target of ridicule from his peers.
"A lot of the time when kids would make fun of me I would think 'why am I doing this?'" Dylan said. It was during these hard times that Dylan would think of the unknown child his efforts would help to provide a wig for. "That kept me going," he said.
It takes $800 to $1,000 to cover the manufacturing and other related costs of creating a wig.
Once he cut off his hair, Dylan quickly turned his attention to raising money to pay for the manufacturing costs, and raised more than half. He plans to cut his hair a few more times too in support of AHK.