Mom helps struggling parents with free hair braiding event

November 8, 2021
Brittany Starks and a another hairstylist working on box braids.
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A friend’s act of kindness inspired a woman in Antioch, Tennessee, to lend a helping hand by braiding children’s hair for free. Then, Brittany Starks’ generosity led more than a thousand people to donate to a GoFundMe to keep the braiding going.

Starks moved to Nashville three years ago after becoming homeless. A friend gave her children clothes, shoes and two backpacks filled with school supplies when she could not afford them.

That act encouraged Starks, a hairdresser, to give back herself. She decided to braid elementary, middle and high school children’s hair for free, both boys and girls, in August. 

After raising $40,000 dollars through GoFundMe, Starks plans to start a nonprofit. The organization will host monthly braiding events and help tutor children.

“One thing that kept me motivated was the smile on the kids’ faces, how happy they were afterward, the pictures I continue to see that the parents are posting. It brings me joy the kids are so much happier,” Starks said.

She believes confidence increases when a person’s hair is done.

“My daughter was saying she was getting bullied at school because someone said her hair was nappy and she has Autism, but once I braided her hair, her confidence changed. She was a whole different kid,” Starks said.

She did not work alone. Working beside her were her family, 16 hairstylists and an 11-year-old braider.

Starks’ mother, Katina Haynes, believes her daughter received the gift of giving from Haynes’ father and his humbling beginnings. 

“My father just recently passed, and he gave back to a lot of people in Nashville, buying bikes and stuff for the people in the projects, and he owned a restaurant so just feeding a lot of people,” Haynes said. “We were brought up like that so you bring your kids up the same way.”

Parents of children rejoiced at how the event helped them and their kids.

Dani Dockery recently began working again after taking four weeks of maternity leave. She said the event is helping her get back on her feet. 

Tameika Bomani is going through a divorce. 

“Nashville is so expensive now,” Bomani said. “I am not a mother that knows how to braid hair or do hair. This is my first little girl, so taking off the expense to get her hair done is very helpful to me.” 

More:This state is offering children 3 free mental health counseling sessions

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