“When you are able to shift your inner awareness to how you can serve others, and when you make this the central focus of your life, you will then be in a position to know true miracles in your progress toward prosperity.”
- Wayne W. Dyer

Here I am smilingly pictured with all of the ponytails donated in the first year. Toward the right of the picture is a chalkboard on which we kept the count as we received ponytails. That year we collected 34, the following year we more than doubled the number, at 77, and the last year, we have received 70 and counting.

The first year I hosted the event, I cut my hair 13 inches. I had not cut it in about 4 years and it was past my waist.

Bag

This is an example of a goodie bag from the first year I hosted the event. Inside, there are varied items such as nail polish, pens, hand lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. Everyone who donated either money, hair or time, received a bag.

Here I am pictured with Lien and Marta, the two women who allowed the event to take place. They are the hairdressers who came out three years in a row to cut ponytails. Many thanks to their salon, D’Style Beauty Salon, and its owner, Lien Barales, for the support. They were always ready with a pair of scissors, and some years they even had to call in back up!

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.
- Alex Noble

Tips for procuring in-kind donations:

For my Locks of Love event, I had the help of many local businesses. You would be surprised how many people are willing to be generous toward a great cause. I have compiled a list of tips that will ensure that your donation-hunting is a success.

1. Provide proof that your project is valid: showing up at a store and asking for 20 cases of water bottles can look suspicious unless you bring proof that you are hosting an event. The proof can be anything from a flyer to pictures of past events. Leaving them with a shirt or a goodie bag might be helpful as well because it helps them keep you in mind.

2. Offer to advertise for them: advertise for the donor in flyers, announcements, and possibly even on-site signage. This provides an added incentive for the business.

3. Always be polite: nobody likes to donate time, food, or raffle items to people who seem to be in a bad mood. Personality is a big factor in securing a donation, so remember to be kind, even when you get denied.

4. Follow-up with an email: Always follow-up with emails to remind the business about the event. It would be a tragedy to lose a donation simply because your request slipped the donor’s mind.

5. Plan ahead: make sure that you arrange a date on which you pick up the donations. Doing so will avoid last-minute rushes to pick up donations.

This is me with the inspirational founder of Message from Marli and the woman who inspired me to spearhead my major service project. It was taken at the first annual “Lourdes Girls Have Locks of Love.” I am holding the 13 inches of hair that I had just cut to donate to Locks of Love.

Hello world!

Since October of my sophomore year, I have run an event at my school to benefit Locks of Love. I decided to start this event when my third grade teacher was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She created a charitable organization called Message from Marli.

Through my teacher, I experienced first-hand the desire of a cancer patient to look healthy and normal. She achieved this by the simple act of wearing a wig, but this made me think about children that were going through the same thing. I set a goal to actively create an event in my school that would benefit these individuals afflicted by cancer, contacted local vendors to donate food and drinks as well as other retailers to donate items for goodie bags and raffles, and created a logo and handed out t-shirts and bags filled with the items donated by local businesses including Whole Foods. I collaborated with the Locks of Love organization and made “Lourdes Girls Have Locks of Love” happen. I marketed the event throughout the community, receiving support as well as funding.

Soon, I was receiving ponytails to send to Locks of Love year round. I established a contact at Locks of Love and became familiar with their process. The first year, I was able to obtain 34 ponytails, the second, the number of ponytails more than doubled to 77.

I have decided to create a new goal—I want to motivate others and help them to do what I did in order to benefit Locks of Love. Having gone through this process three times, I know that setting up a successful event is not a task easily accomplished, and for this reason I am setting up a blog. I will put out posts periodically on topics from procuring vendors to event logistics.