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Teens show ‘Locks of Love’ - Donation of precious hair benefits those less fortunate

When it came time for the big cut, there were panicked shrieks, nervous giggles and even a few tears. Then the scissors started snipping and they didn’t stop until there was one gloriously huge, heartwarming, life-changing pile of hair. One hundred and forty inches—almost 12 feet—of tresses amassed on one desk inside Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge. On Tuesday afternoon the school’s library was transformed into a hair salon, of sorts. Generous and brave students lined up for their extreme makeovers. In total, 13 ponytails were lopped off and will be donated to the non-profit group Locks of Love. The donor students came from four Brooklyn high schools—Brooklyn Tech, Fort Hamilton, Midwood and Telecommunications. They were all members of Key Club, a student-led service program affiliated with Kiwanis International. The organization aims to teach leadership through serving others. The Key Club New York District Division 9 Lt. Governor Jackie Lolong, a senior from Brooklyn Tech, organized the event. She started mustering up willing students about a year ago, encouraging them to leave their hair long and untouched. “It’s such a ridiculously easy way to help other people,” said Jackie, 17, who lost a full 12 inches from her own mane. “I needed a change anyway—and it’s nice to give back,” said Olga Yudchits, a 16-year-old sophomore who attends Fort Hamilton High School. Olga grew her hair for two entire years. “It will grow back,” she said as she ran her hands through her new shoulder-length do. Susie Chan, 17, a junior attending Midwood High School, didn’t seem fazed about losing some major length. “It’s better than just getting a regular haircut, because you’re actually doing something to help,” Chan said as she inspected her donation. Jenny Or, 14, a ninth-grade student at the High School of Telecommunica-tion, Arts and Technology, appeared more reluctant. Tears welled up in Jenny’s eyes during her haircut. As her hair fell, the freshman talked to her mom on her cell phone for moral support. Hairdresser Chalise Modest tried to soothe her most apprehensive clients. “Just think of that little boy or little girl that you’re going to make very happy,” she told the students. Trainee hairdresser Desiree Laino also volunteered her time. She discovered that many of her donors were uncertain about how many inches to lose. “You have to bargain with them about how much hair they donate,” Laino said. Laino’s bargaining was all for a very good cause. Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Donated ponytails are turned into high-quality wigs for needy kids. “The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers,” Locks of Love boasts on their website. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia. This auto-immune disorder causes the hair follicle to shut down. Locks of Love also provides hairpieces to children who have cancer. Depending on the type and length of radiation and chemotherapy, some hair loss can be long term. Donated ponytails must be 10 inches from tip to tip. For more information on making a donation, visit

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