It's a sight that is invariably familiar to anyone who has ever received a hair cut. A client no sooner leaves the stylist's chair than an assistant wielding a broom arrives on the scene to sweep up the clippings.
However, if La Cañada Flintridge resident Linda Ok can make it happen, she and 59 of her fellow teen philanthropists will find a salon not only willing to cut their hair — each girl has committed to saying goodbye to a good 10 inches of growth — but also willing to donate those clippings to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides wigs for children with permanent hair loss.
"There's a lot of talk these days about recycling," says Ok, a student at Maranatha High School. "Well, in a very real sense, we're recycling. We're putting our hair to a new use, which will better the 'environment' for the disadvantaged children whose families can't afford to buy them wigs. We can always grow back our hair; the children we're helping can't."
Custom hairpieces such as those provided by Locks of Love, Ok explains, usually cost $3,500 and up.
The teen was inspired to cut her hair last fall, after a classmate, Amy Sinclair, met a "guy who said he was growing out his hair for Locks of Love" while visiting Chicago with her family. Sinclair resonated to the idea immediately — a Bible verse, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40), provided additional inspiration — but was concerned whether her friends would share her enthusiasm for the project.
"I wondered how many teenage girls would be willing to compromise their appearance by giving up their hair," Sinclair recalls. "Teenagers want so much to fit in and long hair is considered by many to be beautiful."
The response, however, from Sinclair's classmates and friends was overwhelmingly positive. Sixty girls have now pledged to cut their hair either on May 19 or September 15.
There is just one problem. The teens have yet to line up a salon or stylist willing to cut the girls' hair.
"We'll go to them or they can come to us at the gym at Maranatha," says Ok. "The important thing is to make this happen for the sake of the many children who need our help."
Stylists interested in helping 60 teenage girls adopt a new, shorter hairstyle — and thus help children suffering from permanent hair loss receive wigs of their own — can call (626) 817-4000, ext. 1914.
For more information about Locks of Love, visit the organization's website at www.locksoflove.org.