By SARA ARTHURS
High school cosmetology students have — like everyone else in the community — been hearing and talking and thinking a lot about the heroin crisis lately. So three of them are organizing a glamorous “hair show” as a student project, with the proceeds to benefit the recovery center Focus on Friends.
Millstream Cosmetology Career Center and Hairdressers Against Heroin will present “The Mane Event” from 6-10 p.m. Saturday in the Millstream Atrium. Area salons and spas will compete for the title of “Mane Event Champion,” with judges including a panel of artists, business owners, salon professionals and individuals from the recovery community who will pick a winner based on creativity, technique and originality.
But, while there will indeed be prizes, it’s meant to be fun more than competitive, said Kai Hildebrand, president of the local chapter of Skills USA and organizer of the event along with two other cosmetology students, Abby Wolbers and Brittany Ruskey.
It will, however, be fancy. The event is formal, and not just the models but the attendees should dress up and “look their best,” Hildebrand said.
She said the event will be a hair show but will also feature clothing and makeup. It’s open to the public and will include food and drinks — though nonalcoholic, as it’s being hosted by high-schoolers.
Tickets are $5 at the door. Salons will each pay $20, which grants them the right to bring five models. Proceeds will benefit Focus on Friends, a nonprofit recovery center which helps people dealing with mental health issues, substance abuse or trauma.
Hildebrand said the organizers wanted to focus on the heroin epidemic in Findlay and make the community aware of what’s going on. She said she and her classmates hear about the crisis and overdoses a lot, and a number of speakers have addressed the issue at school.
Hildebrand said they researched organizations that help and came across Focus on Friends. The center, at 509 W. Trenton Ave., is near the high school, making it a viable partner, she said.
Program coordinator Ben Hippensteel has been their contact at Focus on Friends, and she said he is someone “you can talk to,” or send people to who need help.
“It’s been great working with the students,” Hippensteel said, adding the teens are creating a fashion show with a “bigger-city feel” in Findlay.
Many of the teens have themselves been affected by the opioid crisis, as family or friends have been touched by it, he said.
“For them to stand up … at this point in their life, to express their concern and want to do something about it, is pretty amazing,” Hippensteel said.
The three students are involved in Skills USA, where they compete while learning leadership skills. All three are high school seniors studying cosmetology.
For more information on the hair show, contact Reflections Salon at 419-425-8277.
Focus on Friends can be reached at 419-423-5071.