L-R, Ernisa Barnwell, Nikki Capehart and Talia Palmer
BY ERNISA BARNWELL, Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG — For inner city youths, the opportunity to travel for summer vacation may not be in the cards, but that didn’t stop a group of young ladies in south St. Pete from taking full advantage of their time off from school.
The young ladies who attended the HAIR BRAIDING STARLETS™ Summer Camp enjoyed entrepreneur training all while learning the ancient cultural art of hair braiding, which will afford the participants, ages 9-17, a skill they will be able to mature into. Hair braiding is an enterprise with minimal venture capital needed to get started.
The HAIR BRAIDING STARLETS™ Summer Camp had some great community sponsorship, speakers and volunteer support. Beauty Depot, 2319 34th St. S, was very generous in their donation of beauty supplies for the hair braiding kits. Dr. Barnes of Barnes Holistic Counseling Therapies Institute LLC even awarded a scholarship to one of the young ladies that covered her full summer tuition.
Brittany Richardson of Bunited Tax Services and CEO of World magazine spoke to the girls about being young entrepreneurs, L’Aisha Love, a master hair braider and alumna of BARDA Hair Braiding College, came out and taught the girls technical hair braiding techniques.
Emerald Morrow of WTSP Channel 10 News blessed the young ladies with knowledge about journalism. Brittany Jenkins, owner of B-Milan Salon came out and spoke to the girls about being a young salon owner, and Cynthia Tomlin from Healthy Start lectured on female health and infant mortality.
During the Aug. 5 graduation ceremony, City of St. Petersburg Director of Urban Affairs Nikki Gaskin-Capehart presented a certificate to the HAIR BRAIDING STARLETS™ from the city. She inspired the girls to continue learning and growing in all their endeavors.
The young ladies age 16 and up received their Florida State Hair Braiding Licensing course certificate of completion from BARDA Enterprises International, and girls ages 9-15 received an apprenticeship certification.
Rev. Willie Whiting from Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist was also on hand at the graduation ceremony. He asked if any of the past graduates have had children, and I was proud to say that there have been no teen pregnancies among my students since the program started in 2009.
One young lady who completed this summer’s technical African hair braiding and entrepreneur training program has already begun operating a home-based business. She made $600 during the back-to-school season and purchased her own clothes and school supplies, thus alleviating stress from her parents.
HAIR BRAIDING STARLETS™ After School Program begins Sept. 13 at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S. Registration is now open at the center. For more information call 877-272-3136.
Rev. Whiting and BARDA HAIR BRAIDING COLLEGE™ were contributing sponsors.