NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Dozens of Newark students will be heading back to class with a fresh hairstyle thanks to the city’s police and fire department.
The best part: It was free.
A new haircut or style can go a long way.
“It makes me feel confident in myself,” said Newark student Christ Tucker.
“I feel good because now I feel like no one is going to harass me or bully me no more,” said student Qawiyah Owodunni.
For the second year in a row, the Newark Police Department’s 6th Precinct held it’s back-to-school tradition, giving free haircuts and braiding for city children.
“Believe it or not, it’s something everybody needs, everyone wants to look good,” said Lt. Hector Arocho of the Newark Police Department. “It’s something to send them with on their first day, looking sharp, looking great, and it’s something to make them feel better about themselves.”
On top of hairstyling, the free event was full of music, food, and fun. It’s all part of a greater city-wide effort by police and firefighters to form relationships with community members.
“It’s something that we do to try to let them know that police are not adversarial towards them but more of what our mission is, to be their guardians of their rights,” said Arocho. “We try to do that by starting out with our younger crowd.”
Arocho says the event wouldn’t have been possible without the professional haircutting volunteers and cops who braided hair, all happy to donate their time to invest in kids.
“Some kids are less fortunate, so to prevent bullying and humiliation for kids that are less fortunate, I’d rather give back and help support that,” said volunteer Jalessa Jackson.
The first responders had stacks of school supplies to hand out. No child left empty-handed.