When a child is taken from a home and placed in protective custody, they sometimes leave with their personal things shoved into a plastic bag or box.
"In these types of situations, they have control over nothing, and that's a scary feeling for anyone" said Mandy Hall, a social worker with the Division of Child and Family Services.
After reading books about foster children and the system in which they circulate, Lori Hadlock thought of a service project she and other stylists at the new Platinum+ salon could champion. What if they could provide at least a few children with backpacks and hygiene items to give children something of their own to make the rough transition a little easier?
With the help of advanced stylist Susie Bendure, Hadlock organized an effort to ask area residents to provide 500 backpacks for children from newborns to 18 years old.
"It just gives them something that is theirs," said Hadlock, salon executive director. "This helps kids in need."
The salon has collected about 80 backpacks so far, and Bendure and Hadlock hope those willing to give will either drop a backpack -- full of items from toothpaste and shampoo to combs and toothbrushes -- to the salon or other participating businesses, Bank of America, 600 E. William St., and Irwin Union Bank, 1717 College Parkway.
Backpacks can also be dropped off at the Governor's Mansion on Friday, May 3 from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Anything that helps children is good," Bendure said.
Hall called the project "wonderful" and said the backpacks will definitely be used throughout Northern Nevada.
"When you're in a rush packing, you're always forgetting certain things," Hall said. "When (the children) can come in and pick out a backpack or a toothbrush or something that's going to be theirs, it gives them a tiny amount of control. That's just a great thing for them."
About 120 of the 2,017 children removed from Nevada homes in 2000 were in the rural counties outside Washoe and Clark counties. Service groups have donated bags to the division in the past, and Hall said 500 back packs would probably "serve us for a couple of years."
As extra incentive, anyone who donates a backpack will receive a raffle ticket. A drawing for $100 worth of beauty products or salon service will be held the day of the salon's grand opening, also May 3.
For information, call Platinum+ at 884-1001.
You can help:
Drop off backpacks with hygiene items at Platinum+ salon, 716 N. Carson St., ste. 110. Backpacks should be appropriate for a child up to 18 years old and include travel-sized, age-appropriate personal care items. Call 884-1001 for information.