Local hair stylists give the gift of literacy for Christmas

Eye on KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Santa Claus is busy this time of year, and that’s why he needs as many elves as possible to help children living in poverty. According to the Sioux Falls School District, almost 50-percent of elementary students qualify for free and reduced lunch. At some schools 100-percent of those students qualify for that assistance. This indicates a need in the community to help students from low income families.

A local business is answering that call, but needs you. The stylists there work with hair, but they are also experts when it comes to matters of the heart.

Is easy to tease someone for the level of importance they place on a haircut. Stylist and Vanessan’s Hair Design co-owner Biz Word can see what someone needs and figures out how to transform him or her, inside and out.

“If somebody comes in and you can see it on their face, they’re not feeling super confident,” Word said. “What brings value to our work is making people happy and making people feel good.”

That’s exactly what happens at both locations of Vanessan’s. While the stylists here go to great lengths to cut and curl hair, owner Gloria Kolbeck says they are always looking at ways to grow their good deeds.

“At Vanessan’s, we have three core values. Community, growth, education are the three values we have,” Kolbeck said.

That’s why Vanessan’s routinely sponsors a giving tree this time of year. When customers pay for their appointments, they can donate money. This year, Vanessan’s is donating all of the money raised to the students at Hayward Elementary School in Sioux Falls.

“They are our future and this is, this is so important,” Word said.

Vanessan’s is working with the Promising Futures Fund. It’s a non-profit Steve Hildebrand started with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation. It looks at needs within the Sioux Falls School District, and raises money for students living in poverty. In this case, Vanessan’s giving tree is paying for a book club drive for Hayward. It’ll give a brand new book to each student, per month, they can take home with them.

“We want to make sure we’re developing readers who can read who also develop that love for reading, because reading is tied to anything you do in life,” Jeff Sweets, principal, said.

Sweets says he is so grateful this team is giving these students the chance at a better education.

“It takes a village to raise a child and we do, we all owe that to kids in the community because they’ll be our leaders some day,” Sweets said.

Vanessan’s is matching customer donations, and so far it’s raised $3,200. The goal is to raise $5,000 for the kids at Hayward. Word says you don’t have to be a Vanessan’s customer to make a difference.

“If people want to just pop in and do just that, if they want to call in with their credit card number, we can do it that way,” Word said.

Word hopes more businesses and community members contact their local schools, to see what they can do to help students there.

“It’s a great feeling. It does probably more, just as much for us as it does for people we’re helping,” Word said.

Doing something to help others looks good on everyone. Leave it to a group of hair stylists to see a need, and fill it to transform the community into a better place.

“Giving is what makes Christmas,” Kolbeck said.

If you’d like to donate, you have until January 1st. You can contact either Vanessan’s location if you want to help.

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