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Tips on styling Black children's hair for foster parents of a different race

Posted at 7:22 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 01:13:18-05

PHOENIX — Taking on a foster child can be a daunting task, and there's a natural learning curve for parents who foster children of a different race.

The cultural gap is particularly evident when it comes to styling a Black child's hair.

That's where the Jack & Jill Phoenix chapter steps in, for the second year in a row hosting a Zoom seminar where foster parents can get the answers they need.

Last year the program started a YouTube channel, with a professional stylist giving step-by-step instructions on how to care for and style a young Black girl's hair.

"Today we're gonna go from start to finish, de-tangling, shampooing, conditioning, to styling," said stylist Shashana Davis in the video from Melinda's Style Boutique.

Jack & Jill Phoenix Chapter President, Leah Landrum Taylor says last year's seminar was a huge success.

"We knew it was going to be good, but we didn't realize just how critical the need of this service is," Taylor said.

Around 130 parents tuned in for last year's seminar. This year, Tene Marion, with the Department of Child Safety, says they reached some 3,900 foster parents, both live and through social media.

Marion credits all parents who have the heart it takes to raise a foster child.

"Kids need love," Marion said. "Regardless of their race, gender creed, it doesn't matter, a child just wants to be loved," she said.

The seminar allowed parents to ask questions in real time, they may otherwise have been afraid to ask, and then to use what they've learned with their child back home.

"Hair means a lot to our children. It's self-esteem. It's a way to bond. I know growing up with my mom and I, it was our bonding time, sitting down and getting my hair combed," Marion said.

A local black business, Lolo's Hair Fashion and Accessories provided free hair kits to the parents who tuned in to the seminar. The kits include all the grooming tools and products parents need to style hair at home.

The kits were made available from community donations, including the Phoenix Chapter of the Links, Tempe Union High School District, and the local Girl Scouts.

"Part of meeting the needs and helping with self-esteem is something as simple as making sure that your crown looks beautiful!" Landrum Taylor said.

The program was so successful, Jack & Jill Phoenix is looking to expand it into other states next year.

For information on donating to purchase hair care kits contact Lolo's Hair Fashion and Accessories at (602) 296-4642.