Home Community Barrie Georgian students apply wig-making skills to help kids with cancer

Georgian students apply wig-making skills to help kids with cancer

Georgian College Hairstyling students are learning more than just how to transform a customer’s look – they’re learning how to add a little bit of joy to a child going through a difficult time in their young life.

Students in Michelle Parliament’s hair additions class at the Barrie Campus are learning wig-making skills with a plan to donate the final products to young cancer patients.

Parliament came up with the idea after following the struggles of a former co-worker whose young son was diagnosed with leukemia. “I don’t even think he was a year old,” said Parliament. “I followed their struggle, both the good and the bad days. I have two wonderful boys of my own and I can’t imagine what she went through. It breaks my heart.”

“I was doing research, looking for different ways to teach my students about making wigs, and I came across these patterns showing examples of how to make wigs using yarn,” said Parliament. “We teach our students about wig making and this is a creative way to learn about the process and we could donate the final product, our wigs, to young cancer patients.”

Parliament added that wig making is a great skill for students who not only want to work in salons but may want to work in the theatre or on movie sets. “Many of the knots they’re using to make these wigs can be utilized when working with hair extensions, hair pieces and additions.”

“I hadn’t thought a lot about the fact that kids get cancer too,” said Breanna Thorn, age 21, a student in the Hairstyling program. “It was very eye opening. We’re learning practical skills but we’re contributing to society. It wasn’t something I expected to learn in my program but I love being able to help in some small way to put a smile on a child’s face.”

The class chose a theme of pirates and princesses for their wigs.

“We’re learning about crocheting and knitting too,” said Neely Westenbrink, age 21. “It’s funny, but these are all skills we can apply in a hair salon after we graduate. But it’s so gratifying and wonderful to utilize what we’re learning in class to also help sick kids.”

Both students are from Barrie and hope to finish their apprenticeship and work in a salon – Neely hopes to own her own place one day in the local area.

Parliament is planning to reach out to a few charity organizations like Ronald Mcdonald House.

The Hairstyling students also recently participated in two fundraising events in Wasaga Beach for Angel Hair for Kids, a charity that provides wigs or hair loss solutions for children.  The students did hair braiding, mini manicures and provided full styling services to those donating their hair at the event.

By/Par: Elaine Murray, Communications Specialist, Marketing and Communications, Georgian College