Dr. Staci Baker knew she wanted to #BeTheGood in her community, a slogan that had been the theme for the 2019-2020 school year at Galena-Abesville Elementary, the school where she is currently the principal. “Our school is a very rural school. Because of that, we have children who may not have the financial means to be able to do certain things. I wanted to showcase that you can help people without it costing a whole lot of money.” Staci had been growing her hair out for a while, and needed a haircut desperately. Suddenly an idea came to her, donate her hair and somehow get the students involved with that. The idea of a reading challenge was born!
After consulting with Sarah Horton, ViVo Master Stylist, she knew she had to donate at least a foot. Sarah also suggested Staci choose the nonprofit Wigs For Kids. “I love that with Wigs For Kids the families do not have to pay. Each child is fitted with their personalized wig, taught how to care for it, and provided with everything they need for their new hair,” explained Sarah.
The idea of Staci with short hair excited the students, and encouraged them to want to participate in the reading challenge. During the two weeks, the kids were expected to read more than 1500 minutes. The school also had a “Hair-O-Meter,” and each day, Staci would cut off a little more of the model’s “hair” to show the kids how close they were to meeting their goal. “When we cut the hair off the Hair-O-Meter, the more the kids saw, they worked together. Soon classes were coming together to have shared reading time,” explained Staci. After a few days, Ms. Marki Maples, the school’s art teacher, hopped on board to get her hair donated as well. “As soon as Ms. Maples joined, it was like something was shot out of a cannon. The kids were on it!” Staci said.
Right before spring break, everything came together. At 3pm on Friday before the holiday the kids hit their goal. The plan was to have an assembly when they came back from vacation. The teachers would get their haircut and celebrate the school finishing the challenge. “I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled for them,” exclaimed Staci. However, the world had other plans. COVID happened and the school shut down for the remainder of the school year.
Now nearly six months after the challenge, the teachers came in to ViVo to finally get their hair cut and reveal to the kids what their hard work had done. Staci was able to donate a foot of her hair, while Ms. Maples donated about 20 inches. After the cut, Staci said, “I hope the kids feel really proud of themselves. While Ms. Maples or I may have gotten a haircut, this just makes it so much better. The kids made it possible. I’m so pleased they worked so hard!” For Sarah, ViVo Master Stylist, “I am so thankful for Dr. Baker, Ms. Maples, Galena teachers, and the students for encouraging kids to read and giving back through all of their hard work! They did a great job!”
For Staci, the challenge was more than just a haircut. It was a way to get her students excited to read and showcase that they could all work together to do something great for someone else. “They were going to read regardless, but we were able to do something that excited them to read! The fact that we got to do something really awesome with reading, but also something really great with #BeingTheGood. We were able to teach them about paying that forward to help someone else. It was a win-win. It’s perfect.”