BHS students cutting hair to show they care


Barbering students at Baldwin High School@Shubert styled wigs and assembled care packages for homeless woman staying at the Bethany House homes last week.

Students at the technical school came to class on Nov. 29 with one goal — to cut and style wigs and create care packages for women being hosted by Bethany House, a nonprofit group of domestic shelters that provide safe, supportive emergency and transitional housing and services for homeless women as well as victims of domestic violence and their children.

Gabriella Franza, the Baldwin School District’s assistant director of instructional programs, said the project came about when barbering students told their teachers that they would like to give back to the community last November. She said that this moved the district to form a relationship with Bethany House, which focuses on strengthening and assisting women and children who lack access to resources that promote natural and healthy growth and development.

Since then, Franza said, the barbering students have had the chance to learn haircutting skills and get hands-on experience with an organization called Hair We Share, a family-owned nonprofit based in Roslyn Heights that creates and donates custom wigs to those who experience hair loss — burn victims, patients undergoing chemotherapy and those who suffer from alopecia, a disease that targets hair follicles. 

Barbering students were given donated wigs from Hair We Share, Franza explained, and learned how to measure them to fit the woman who signed up for the program at Bethany House. A major focus of the program, she added, was to help the women toward a life of freedom and independence by “providing them with a care package for success.” 

As part of the package, the school district donated blazers to Bethany House, and students from Shubert’s Police Science class interviewed some of them to create resumes for job interviews.

Braydon Castro, 17, a high school senior and a barbering student, said he enjoyed helping woman in need with his hair-cutting skills. 

He has been a barbering student since September 2021, and was happy to meet with Bethany House residents, whom he found to be genuine and strong people, he said.

“It felt good to put smiles on the faces of people that needed it,” Castro said.

After high school, he said, he plans to continue honing his haircutting skills, and to open a barbershop one day. For now, Castro plans to intern at Prestige Grooming Lounge, on Grand Avenue in Baldwin, after he graduates in June.

“First I want to work in a barbershop, then, if I’m successful, open up some more,” he said. “Eventually I hope to create a franchise of barbershops here in Baldwin.”

Although Castro said he has little business experience, he believes his haircutting skills will be enough to get him started in the business until he has enough experience to open a shop.