Students in Calgary Board of Education cosmetology classes currently only learn to style Caucasian hair, and they want that to change.
At the behest of those students, EducationMatters has launched a fundraiser to provide a wider range of hair types, and mannequins to learn on. EducationMatters is a non-profit fundraising entity for Calgary public education.
“Our cosmetology students have been pretty vocal about saying, ‘we have all Caucasian mannequins, we learn how to do all Caucasian hair, and we graduate this program knowing how to deal with white clients, but not being able to serve anyone else,'” said Helen Nowlan-Walls, director for donor and community engagement for EducationMatters.
In Calgary, it can take up to two years for patrons with curly hair to get a haircut appointment due to the lack of stylists trained in working with curly or textured hair.
Hoping to raise $10,000
EducationMatters has set an initial target goal of $10,000 for their Curls and Coils for Cosmetology fundraiser.
This includes purchasing the training mannequins and getting instructors trained in curly and textured hair for the program.
This would provide basic essentials to the nine Calgary high schools that have cosmetology programs.
Nowlan-Walls says that if they’re able to exceed their goal, they will be able to provide more than the basics.
“If we do exceed it, that will just go into more guest lectures for students, more opportunities, and maybe going out to do some work experience,” she said.
MC College will be providing professional development for the program’s cosmetology instructors to enhance curriculum delivery.
Curl Warehouse will also be matching the first $1,500 donated to the fundraiser.
EducationMatters has aimed to raise the $10,000 by the end of December. Supplies could then be purchased for the new year.
Seeing the need for change, and opportunity
The CBE students wanted to change the narrative about where patrons go to get their hair done, said Nowlan-Walls.
Many Calgarians are forced to go to specialist stylists because of the type of hair they have.
“Everyone’s just always accepted that if you have that type of hair you need to go find somewhere specific, somewhere professional, and often it’s done within smaller communities,” she said.
“And I think this is part of a wider awakening of ‘yup, things have been not right for a very long time.'”
Students gaining the skills to work on more diverse types of hair are also more employable. Salons could benefit by having staff to serve customers they would have otherwise had to turn away.
“It would be a benefit to any salon that could have someone on staff that does have that new knowledge. They’ve only recently learned it, and they’ve got the new techniques down,” said Nowlan-Walls.
Where to donate
Calgarians wanting more information on the Curls and Coils for Cosmetology fundraiser can visit EducationMatters.ca.
Donations can be made directly to the organization through their website, and can also be made at Honey Salon.