Family Success Center offers back-to-school haircuts


Photo: Stylist Maggie Magee of Lockbox Hair Salon in Attalla layers a young girl’s hair at Back to School Hair Day in East Gadsden Community Center on August 1. (Emma Kirkemier/Messenger)

By Emma Kirkemier, News Editor

Family Success Center offered free lice screenings and haircuts for local students headed back to school on Monday, August 1.

According to FSC Program Director Allison Nessler, the center gave 61 haircuts and found no cases of lice. The People Place Church of Gadsden provided free food to attendees while they waited. The event was hosted by East Gadsden Community Center on Wilson Avenue.

Things went “very smoothly” even with the numerous attendees, according to Family Success Center Executive Director Emma Hazlewood Clapp. She and Nessler both praised the community center for its assistance.

East Gadsden Community Center allowed the center to use the space for free, and it provided exemplary organization. The tables and chairs used by their stylists were already set up when they arrived, Clapp said.

“It worked out extremely well,” said pastor Tymetric Dillon of People Place. “We can feed the kids and their families while they wait, and they can play basketball (in the community center gymnasium) while they wait as well.”

Dillon and his wife Tanisha confirmed that they worked closely with Family Success Center to coordinate the two services provided.

The event was the unofficial successor to “Good Hair Day,” another free haircut service previously held yearly by Gadsden First United Methodist Church that was discontinued in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

The title was “Successful Snips Back to School Hair Day,” according to the FSC Facebook, a nod to a program recently launched by Nessler called “Snips for Success.” Nessler accepts appointments to provide free haircuts to low-income community members.

“It’s just something that we were missing the past couple years,” Clapp said.

Clapp explained that FSC has done a school-supply drive in years past, but now that several local schools have been purchasing supplies for their students, she felt something like Back to School Hair Day more effectively met the needs of the community.

Holding the event in East Gadsden Community Center provided added benefits, Clapp pointed out, not only because of the space and organization, but because many East Gadsden community members are without public transportation to get downtown to the Methodist church.

Stylists participating in the event were Nessler, Dakota Apple of All About You Salon in Alexandria, Kris Catoe and Maggie Magee of LockBox Hair Studio in Attalla and Chris “Bayou” Billy Wilson of Make Me Ova Barber and Salon in Gadsden.


Two sisters pose for a photo after getting haircuts. (Emma Kirkemier/Messenger) 

A mother shows off her daughter’s new haircut on Back to School Hair Day. (Emma Kirkemier/Messenger)

Stylists Chris Katoe of LockBox Hair Studio in Attalla (left) and Dakota Apple of All About You Salon in Alexandria (right) give haircuts to children.

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