Fostering A Revelation With Hairdressers At Heart And #WellaCares
Imagine this: Your parents became addicted to drugs when you were a baby and you were placed in foster care. You lived in 14 homes before you were 18, never really forming solid family bonds.
Then, on your 18th birthday, you’re emancipated. Which means you’re considered an adult, and you have to find a job or a way to get an education, and a place to live. What do you do? Where do you go?
This is reality for more than 25,000 kids each year, who “age out” of the U.S. foster care system when they turn 18 or finish high school. For these “emancipated” foster kids, life is extremely difficult. One in five will become homeless. Less than half will find jobs by the time they’re 24. They’re likely to become dependent on public assistance. Many end up in prison.
Adrienne Peters learned these shocking statistics one day at work, at the Revel8 Salon and Spa in Oklahoma City. Her client was connected with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (ODHS) and shared some of the tragic realities of foster kids who age out of the system.
Adrienne started Fostering a Revelation at Revel8, the Oklahoma City salon where she works.
“I felt helpless,” Adrienne remembers. “It felt overwhelming, but I started researching foster care in our state. I kept coming across the same trends—that the main determinants of success after foster care are employment skills, education and most important, having a mentorship-type relationship with an adult.”
And so, in December of 2015, Adrienne created Fostering a Revelation, a unique organization for former foster kids. The stylists at Revel8 will work with community partners such as the ODHS to identify kids who are aging out, and may be interested in a hairdressing career. They will help these young adults enroll and pay for cosmetology school, mentoring them throughout their education. When they graduate, these kids can participate in the salon’s private education programs, then enter an 18-month internship at Revel8, which eventually will lead to full-time employment.
Adrienne considers Fostering a Revelation to be in a start-up phase, but it’s already gathering steam. One big boost? She won the grand prize in Wella Professionals’ #WellaCares challenge, receiving $7,500 to help grow the movement throughout the industry and encourage other salons to join. #WellaCares is an annual contest organized by Hairdressers At Heart that recognizes Wella salons and stylists who are making a real difference in their communities. Contestants can participate by submitting an essay, photo or short video illustrating how hairdressers are inspiring positive change.
Adrienne and her team were thrilled to win the #WellaCares Challenge!
“Winning the #WellaCares Challenge means that all the hard work was worth it because we’re in a position now to help someone, and they can help someone else,” says Adrienne. “If everyone helps one other person, I don’t see why Fostering a Revolution can’t translate across our industry and across all industries.”
So far, one young woman, Brittany, has entered the program. She’s 18 with two kids under the age of five—a lot on her plate. Adrienne is thrilled to be working with Brittany.
“Honestly, even if I only help one person, I feel like I’ve succeeded,” Adrienne says. “We have so much capacity as hairdressers to change our communities because of the people we touch every day. It would be a shame for a successful salon not to use that influence for a good cause.”