TAMPA HEIGHTS — Shayla Myers, 10, sat under a hair dryer after getting a haircut with “Chinese bangs,” a popular style of blunt-cut bangs that fall just above the eyes.
“I’m feeling great,” said Shayla, who entered sixth grade when Hillsborough County schools opened this week.
Inside Ms. Dee’s World of Beauty on Tampa Street, every beautician’s chair was filled with young girls having their hair cut and styled for free Monday, the day before the start of school.
Outside more girls stood on the sidewalk and waited for their turns in the chairs or walked to a tent for refreshments.
By the end of the day 55 girls had received free haircuts. The day before 35 boys also had gotten free haircuts.
Salon owner Dianne Hart and her beauticians volunteer their services each year to help children from low-income families who can’t afford going to hair salons.
“We do it as a labor of love,” said Hart, who began the tradition when she opened her first salon nearly 30 years ago.
“We know what it means for them to look pretty,” she said. “It’s so sad. Some of the girls have never been in a salon. This is about making them feel better about themselves and maybe it translates to better grades.”
Beautician Tina Morrell put the finishing touches on “bangs and a bun” for 11-year-old Elricka Telemaque.
“I look forward to it every year,” Morrell said. “I know there are kids less fortunate who can’t get their hair done.”
Next year, Hart said, she hopes to hold a one-day event at Jackson Heights NFL YET (Youth Education Town) Center on 34th Street with volunteers from about 10 salons participating.