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Donated haircuts give kids a head start

MOOERS FORKS Alex Seymour squirmed as hair stylist Karen Trombley used the clippers to put the finishing touches on his brand new hairstyle. That tickles, he giggled. As Trombley spun him around to face the mirror, he stuck out his tongue. Then, he exclaimed Yeah! before jumping down from the barber chair. Young Alex was the recipient of one of 17 free haircuts donated to JCEOs Head Start Program in Champlain by stylist Karen Trombley of Karens Cut and Curl in Mooers Forks. I like to help families out. Gift certificates to restaurants are nice, but they cost extra, she said, explaining gift certificates rarely cover the full cost for an entire family's dining experience. Trombley confesses she is the type who finds a need and then fills it. For years, she worked as a traveling stylist to nursing homes throughout the area, including Cedarhedge in Rouses Point, before it closed. Because two of her own sons have attended the Champlain Head Start program, she was well acquainted with its work. Her 11-year-old son once attended and her 4-year-old son is currently enrolled. Its a very good program, she said. Alexs mother, Penny Seymour, agreed. [They] get them involved, make it more creative and fun, Seymour explained. Its play-type learning. She is especially impressed with the way they teach diversity to the children. Even for Christmas-types of celebrations, they did Chanukah and Kwanzaa, she said. [The Advocacy Resource Center] came out and they learned about kids in wheelchairs. Most importantly, however, Seymour feels her children have been better prepared for kindergarten. It gets them into the learning spirit with shapes, letters and colors, Seymour continued. Head Start is very good at letting kids do their best, boosting self-esteem. Head Start is a nationwide program that aims to increase school readiness by providing early education services to preschool age children of low-income families and children with disabilities. Locally, the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties operates 17 Head Start centers and three home-based programs, serving 337 children and their families. There are 10 centers located in Clinton County serving 177 children. Seventeen children are enrolled at the Champlain site. According to Jacqueline Skiff, JCEO Head Start director, the donated haircuts have benefited the children and their families in many ways. Through Karens generosity the children were able to learn a little bit about general hygiene, social interaction, community awareness, and self-esteem (to name a few), Skiff wrote in a recent e-mail. For more information about Head Start, contact JCEO at 561-6310.

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