GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Some students walking through the doors at Butcher-Greene Elementary race to Kim Wilson‘s room to get their hair done, but what they're actually getting is a life lesson and self-worth.
“I could tell that some kids were in need of a little extra TLC that they might not have been getting at home for whatever reason," Wilson, a behavior intervention specialist for the Grandview C-4 School District, said.
After realizing how some students' hair had affected the way they carried themselves and their self-esteem, Wilson stepped up with a brush and offered to help after seeking permission from parents.
“It was always excitement, like, 'You noticed? You see me? You’re going to make me feel better about myself?'" Wilson said.
Parents also appreciate the support and compassion for their children.
"I had one parent email me back and say, 'I appreciate you being a part of my village, because I don’t have one,'" Wilson said. "It’s really just her and her kids, and that’s it. So, when she's working a job or two jobs and she can’t do what she needs to do, she appreciates someone seeing her kids and giving them TLC besides just the education piece.”
Wilson's efforts eventually started to have a ripple effect, inspiring other girls in need of some extra skills to ask for their hair to be done.
“Kids that might not have talked to each other before are now starting to talk to each other," Wilson said. "They are racing up the steps to my room to get their hair done. I had two little girls racing this morning to say, 'I’m first. No, I’m first!'"
It's making a difference for the wider school community, too.
“Our girls and our boys are coming in so much stronger," Counselor Laura McCoy said. "They just walk around the school with more pride and more confidence. Then, when they go to math, they can focus on math.“
Wilson shared a before-and-after of her work on Tik-Tok, which received 100,000 views and 20,000 comments.
“I had private messages of people asking me, 'Can you show me how to do my foster care child's hair? I don’t know what to do. What products do you use? Can you help me with my own hair? No one ever showed me and I’m 25 years old,'" Wilson said.
The outpouring of support even led to a Wish List on Amazon, which has since been closed.
“It got to the point where I had to shut down my list, because I didn’t have any more room in my closet,” Wilson said. “It truly takes a village. ... I mean, we are a village here and we are an extension of them, so if we can help out our families in any way, I always say please reach out.”
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