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Fresh Styles for a Fresh Start to School

October 4, 2021

Freshen Up for School is an innovative Strathmore Park Community Centre school holiday programme that’s been putting a big smile on a lot of young faces. 

The brainchild of Jennifer Mason, Strathmore Ave Community Centre Co-Ordinator, Freshen Up is held on the last Friday of each school holiday and offers free haircuts and self-care products to children and teens. 

It helps prepare students to get back to school—offering everything they need to feel fresh and look great.

“Freshen Up helps tamariki and rangatahi return to school feeling good about themselves,” says Jennifer, “I think of it like a ‘Back to School’ party with haircuts and goody bags”.

The next Freshen Up will be on Friday 15 October, 11am-1pm, with no booking required. It will be the fourth time Jennifer and her team have held this useful programme, which aims to give a boost to the young people who need it.

One of Freshen Up’s key supporters who generously shares his time and skills is barber, Lisone Cummings. Lisone has his own business and is also a tutor in barbering at Weltec.  A team from Weltec kindly support every event. 

“The vibe on the day is awesome and the event is very successful,” says Lisone, “The team is so welcoming … the kids’ smiles after their haircuts say it all!”

Hairdresser Alicia King volunteered at the first Freshen Up event, cutting both long and short hair. She loves the event so much so that she's been back with her hairdressing skills at each Freshen Up.

Parents have also shared their appreciation for Freshen Up, “I thought it was really great for all the children,” Barbara, a local grandparent, says, “The goody bags were impressive and very helpful for my grandchildren. They had a great time and loved their haircuts!”.

At the most recent Freshen Up in July, 40 happy kids and teens had haircuts and many more kids and families enjoyed the whole event. Every young person who attended left armed with a goody bag, including products like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dental products, deodorant, hand sanitiser and menstruation products, which were kindly donated by New World Miramar, Wellington City Mission, Lush and individuals from the community.

The October Freshen Up will also feature a Covid vaccinator on-site, an opportunity for those aged over 12 and their whānau to be vaccinated if they choose. A regular feature of the event is the free halal sausage sizzle, so nobody gets hungry while getting their new style.

A craft table on the day provides hands-on activities, either just for fun or while waiting for a sibling or friend to have their hair cut.

All school-aged children are welcome at Freshen Up, whether or not they choose a free haircut. The service may not seem like a gamechanger but it can provide a boost in students' confidence on their return to school.

Freshen Up wouldn’t be possible without its incredible supporters. Big thanks to them and to everyone who attends –it’s great to see you there!

Find out more about the next Freshen Up for School here.