Cosmetology students Takila Brown and Jokeisha Miller graduated on December 19 with more than a diploma. They are entering the workforce with a deep passion and experience promoting breast cancer awareness in their own neighborhoods.
This past October, groups of students from the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) cosmetology programs rallied their peers and clients around Pink Possible, a campaign that supports breast cancer education, research, prevention, patient experience and survivorship activities through Aurora Health Care Foundation.
As part of their school curriculum, the students learn how to style using synthetic and human hair extensions, so their instructors, Julie Stubenrauch of MATC, and Judy Petry of WCTC, introduced the idea to use pink extensions with their clients and promote breast cancer awareness at the same time.
Being just a few blocks from Aurora Sinai Medical Center, the students at MATC knew they wanted to give back. “Keeping the donations local was important to us,” says Brown.
They raised $640 by selling the pink hair extensions, pink ribbons and pink wrist bands they designed.
“A lot of women go through this, so for me it is a big deal,” said Miller. “It was one way I could help women be more aware of the need for self-exams and mammograms.”
WCTC instructor Judy Petry knows the experience taught her students much more than how to style with hair extensions. “Many people attending the fundraiser shared their story as a cancer survivor or told the student about a loved one who fought cancer.” Petry says, “It is always a good experience for the students to learn the ‘soft’ skills as a stylist – to really think about others.”
McKenna Prahl was proud to be involved in the fundraising and awareness building effort. She knows the skills she used in helping to organize things will be useful when she graduates in August and joins her mother’s salon, Salon East in Hartford.
“You need to have dedication and drive – without that, great things like this don’t happen,” McKenna said. “And you have to have a great team.” By working together and getting creative, the WCTC students raised $1,473 for Pink Possible.
Taffanie Johnson, who will graduate this summer from MATC, is excited about all of the ways that she and her cosmetology peers are giving back. From this experience, she is looking to create a student club so they can continue to take what they are learning and give back to the community.
These students will be in the salon in no time, working hard to develop their own clientele. Sure, their customers will benefit from their expertise in the latest techniques and trends in hair cutting, color and style. That is a given.
But what sets these young stylists apart is the deep passion they have for their community. They are inspired and equipped to give back and make a difference.
Join these young philanthropists. Make a donation to Pink Possible TODAY!