Getting a haircut is an act of charity

NEIGHBORS

May 24, 2002|By Betsy Diehl | Betsy Diehl,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HAIRCUTS CAN be fun, even adventurous, or downright necessary. You might not consider getting a bob to be helpful, however, unless your long locks are hindering your climb up the corporate ladder or causing you to trip.

But Lauren Kauffman had a haircut recently that will indeed be helpful to children that she does not even know. She donated her ponytail to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces for children who have lost their hair because of cancer and other illnesses.

"She likes to help people," said Lauren's mother, Joanne.

Last month, the Hammond Elementary School fourth-grader shortened her hair by 10 inches and mailed the excess to the Florida-based charity, tied into a neat ponytail.

Lauren's hair is straight and brown, but any hair will do - curly or straight, light or dark - as long as it's at least 10 inches long. "It just has to be clean and not damaged," said Joanne, who performed the chop at home.

Lauren, 9, was inspired to donate her hair after hearing about a friend of her mother's who did the same. "My friend had breast cancer, and she had really long hair," Joanne said. Knowing that her hair likely would fall out because of chemotherapy, the friend had it cut and sent it to Locks of Love. Lauren liked the idea of helping other children, her mother said.

Lauren had been growing her hair for about three years. "The last time is was this short was in first grade," Joanne said. "She's had trims, but it was finally long enough to donate it."

Lauren seems quite content with her new coiffure, which is now about chin-length. "I think I'm going to keep it short for a while," she said. She is finding some advantages to the new length, especially where her hobbies are concerned.

"When you're gardening, it's easier to have your hair off your neck," Lauren said. Even reading is easier now. "A lot of times the hair would fall in my face," she said.

Best of all, Lauren is content knowing that an ill child, maybe someone who likes to read and garden as she does, will have a full head of hair thanks to her donation.

Lauren says that she probably will donate her hair again, but for now she has another hair-oriented goal. "I'm growing my bangs out," she said.

For information about donating hair, check www.locksoflove. org, or call 1-888-896-1588.

Sew much fun

Members of Girl Scout Troop 1345 had a pajama party two weeks ago, but there was more to it than staying up half the night giggling and watching movies. These girls unveiled a collaborative book they made about Savage and modeled new PJs that they stitched themselves to earn the Scouting "Sew Simple" badge.

Troop leader Sue Marino spent three months sharing her sewing skills with the girls, teaching them everything from pattern-pinning to the zigzag stitch.

"It was a learning experience for parents, the leaders and the girls," Marino said. She put together a makeshift sewing lab, using her own two machines and machines lent by Beverly Frank, Kim Rodriguez, Mary Metzler and Jane Beyzavi.

Marino said the girls had a hard time believing that the odd shapes of the pattern pieces could end up to be something wearable. "But as it started to evolve, they said, `Wow!' They saw how the pattern pieces came together," she said.

Earning the badge were Marino's daughter, Alyson Marino, and Deborah Firestone, Sharnise Hendrick, Natasha Robinson, Andrea Hricko, Susie Tarrasco, Paige Riggins, Caity Wallace and Heather Jarrell.

The Scouts also discussed a new book they put together - a collection of information about community landmarks such as the Bollman Bridge, the firehouse and the food pantry. "We shared how those places help the community and how we can help those places," Marino said.

Savage Fest countdown

The Savage Fest is next weekend, and organizers have a few volunteer slots to fill: working ticket booths, running games and tending the Savage Community Association booth. Shifts are flexible. Also, door prize donations are needed.

To help or to enter the weekend's car show: Corrinne Arnold, 301-725-4959.

To register for the festival's kickoff parade June 1: Jennifer Weaver, 301-317-1916.

Parting words

Many of us associate Memorial Day weekend with cookouts, outdoor games and inaugural visits to outdoor swimming pools. But for Sally Long, a secretary at Gorman Crossing Elementary School, the weekend that kicks off the summer season has never been one of celebration or leisurely pursuits.

"I'm from a retail family," the Ohio native said. "It's always been a big sale weekend. We were always at work!"

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