Canton cosmetologists build girls up through the art of braiding

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CANTON, Miss. (WJTV) – In Canton, the community has come together to sponsor three friends who are inspiring and mentoring young females through cosmetology. The Big Sister Summer Community program is all about teaching young girls how to braid hair, but leaders said the message they’re sharing while doing it is much bigger.

“We’re trying to aid our youth, our youth girls especially, helping them become a better version of themselves,” explained Iveanna Gross with the Big Sister Summer Community program.

Gross and her two friends are licensed cosmetologists. One day a week, they have chosen to give their time and become “Big Sisters” to girls ages seven to 16. Their goal is to instill life skills while building character and self-esteem.

“I want to learn how to do something. I don’t do nothing. Everybody else, they got something to do. I don’t do nothing, so I got to learn how to braid or do something with my life,” one girl said.

“If we’re giving them something to do, something like this, time is one of the most important things we can give to them. Not just saying we’re going to do this, but really bond with them,” stated Gross.

She said by building relationships and encouraging the younger generation, it goes a long way and hopefully keeps the girls out of trouble.

“Honestly, you have more of the youth that’s committing the crimes more so than the adults. If you give them something to do, you will have less robbers, less thieves, less inmates, all of that. Crime will go way down,” Gross said.

The free camp has been sponsored by the community. So far, 45 girls have taken part. The Big Sister Summer Community hopes more girls will come as the summer progresses.

Canton Mayor Dr. Williams Truly said that this is a program he wants to extend throughout the year. For those who want to join, the program is held every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Canton Community Center.

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