Chowchilla inmates donate 33 feet of hair to Locks of Love

09/12/2011 1:19 PM

09/12/2011 1:25 PM

More than 25 inmates reported to the Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) Vocational Cosmetology classroom to participate in the Locks of Love campaign. VSPW has been a steady participant in the Locks of Love campaign.

Locks of Love, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada under the age of 21, suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

The inmates voluntarily have their hair cut and donated to the cause.

Inmate Sandra Swift from Sacramento County has participated in three Locks of Love campaigns. Swift said, "I saw the children who had lost their hair from cancer treatment at Children's Hospital of Central California and I wanted to help."

This year, Swift donated 25 inches of hair to go along with her previous donations of 17 and 19 inches, bringing her total to 61 inches donated to the Locks of Love organization.

Swift had her hair cut by vocational cosmetology student, inmate Lernette Ashford. Ashford is scheduled to take her state board certification exam in December.

"I parole in 2013 and plan on using my certificate to get a job," Ashford said. "I have always liked working with hair, and now I will be able to help support my two sons."

Ashford couldn't afford to go to college, so she took the opportunity to learn a job skill while gaining job experience in preparation for her state certification.

"This is a great event for the women," said Carmen Shehorn, vocation instructor for the VSPW Cosmetology program. "The women who volunteer by donating their hair really enjoy the opportunity to help the children and the students in the cosmetology program get an opportunity at hands-on cutting and styling."

In the 2011 campaign, inmates have donated nearly 400 inches — close to 33 feet — of hair.

VSPW began collecting the hair donations in 1996 and will continue to collect hair for the Locks of Love organization.

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