This is a community announcement from Cuts&Curls 4 Boys&Girls. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit news releases, email tips@ithacavoice.com.

Community advocate and local mom Gloria Coicou made a commitment to bring the Ithaca community together to give kids a chance to go to school in style. On Sept. 7, starting at 9 a.m., kids will get free haircuts at God With Us Barbershop and free hairstyling at V’s Hair Salon.

Additionally, all kids will receive a gift certificate to Mane & Wigs Beauty Supply Store next door to the barbershop to buy products to help maintain their style. “Our hair is a celebration of our roots,” says Coicou. “Something as simple as access to haircare is something we don’t think about as a community, but it is a real issue.” 

This all started with a passionate plea to the Community Foundation by Coicou and proliferated into a community project.

“It’s important for kids to feel good about themselves going into the school year,” said Coicou. “It helps build confidence which in turn helps them advance academically.”

Not only are the kids getting styled, they will also get to choose from backpacks like Adidas, Puma, Air Jordan, Minecraft and Fortnight. The backpacks will be stuffed with more than just pencils and erasers. Each backpack has nearly all the items on the kids’ back-to-school supply list including earbuds, pencil sharpeners, sharpies, and a box of tissues. Staples donated 75 supply kits for the backpacks.

“We are trying to do our part in building community engagement and want to develop relationships,” said Staples manager Joe Tompkins.

A haircut, new backpack, school supplies…that’s not all. Kids will also get toiletries like body wash, shampoo, and argan oil, all donated by the Enfield Food Pantry and the Food Bank of the Southern Tier (FBST). “We are proud to be a partner in efforts to serve the community and ensure that kids have what they need to start the school year,” says Natasha Thompson, CEO of the FBST. After the community foundation, Coicou contacted the Cayuga Radio Group (CRG) and was met with matching enthusiasm. Chet Osadchey and his team were more than happy to be part of this event and donated nearly 125 backpacks filled with school supplies.

“This is what we love to do,” says Alex Bergman, Promotions and Marketing Director of CRG. Veron Raymond, owner of Mane & Wigs Beauty Supply stated, “I’ll do anything for the kids, it’s always all about the kids.” Raymond will also be gifting hair supplies to the children in addition to their gift certificates to her store.

“Everyone has been so gracious,” says Coicou, “I didn’t have to ask anyone twice…everyone had the same goal and that was to support the children. Verity, owner of V’s Hair Salon offered her services along with her intern’s services and shared the same excitement about Tuesday. Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown had this to say “Our scholars will be looking good and feeling good as we start the new academic school year. I’m appreciative of the community support that is helping to launch this.”

Cuts&Curls 4 Boys&Girls was made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of Tompkins County and many community organizations and businesses. Cayuga Radio Group will be on-site Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. at God With Us Barbershop. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are prioritized. Please call Gloria Coicou at 321-278-9172 to make an appointment.