By Trina Trice
When 2-year-old Joe Williams Jr., had his hair cut last week, he probably didn't realize that he could be helping another child his age.
For every child who got a haircut at The Hair Cuttery by Aug. 15, the Department of Family and Children Services gets a certificate for one free haircut to give a child under its protective custody.
The Hair Cuttery has two locations in Clayton County n one in Jonesboro, the other in Morrow.
Chuck Fischer, deputy director of the Clayton County DFCS, is coordinating the program locally.
"In many cases it allows these children to have professional haircuts," he said. "In bad economic times, kids whose parents can't afford to get them haircuts do it at home."
The county's DFCS is receiving 250 certificates for free haircuts, Fischer said.
The agency currently has 450 children in foster care.
Not all of the certificates will go to foster children, though.
The opportunity for free haircuts will also go to Rainbow House, a temporary shelter for abused children. Some children who reside with relatives, in emergency shelters, or in homes awaiting adoption will also get free haircuts.
At the Hair Cuttery on 7871 Tara Blvd. in Jonesboro, between 35 and 40 children get haircuts every week, said Gerald Hood, salon leader.
"It's a wonderful thing, there are a lot of unfortunate children who can't afford to get their haircuts and feel bad about themselves. It's excellent for their self-esteem.
Stylist Meikoe Williams made sure her 2-year-old son Joe participated.
"A lot of people don't realize there are some kids who can't afford to get their hair cut," she said. "They think all they need are school supplies."
Kayla Martin, 8, was happy to share a haircut with someone.
"It's good to help people that don't have anything," she said.
This is the fifth year of Share-A-Haircut that will benefit at least 50,000 children age 18 and under during the back to school season.
Since the program began, 205,000 free haircuts have been given.