BOCES cosmetology students raise money for charity in Riverhead

In the spirit of the holiday season, first-year students in the Eastern Suffolk BOCES cosmetology program put their skills to use for local charitable organizations. 

Last Wednesday evening, community members had the chance to get a haircut, have their nails done or receive other beauty services — all for $5 and a can of nonperishable food.

The money and food will go to three Long Island organizations: St. John’s Nepomucene, the Long Island Council of Churches and New Beginnings’ Brendan House in Riverhead.

“We chose those three because those are some charities that are in our community to give to,” said 17-year-old student Hailey Morgan.

St. John’s Nepomucene is a Catholic church in Bohemia. The nonprofit Long Island Council of Churches provides assistance to low- to moderate-income Long Islanders through the work of churches throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to its website. And Brendan House, located on Sound Avenue in Riverhead, is a long-term care home for people with traumatic brain injuries or other physical and cognitive disabilities.

Food donations gathered during the event, which has occurred annually since 2007, were sent to the Long Island Council of Churches and monetary donations to Brendan House in previous years as well.

Community members made appointments for a variety beauty services, including haircuts, blowouts, manicures, thermal styling and paraffin wax treatments.

“That’s when you put your hands in the wax for a few minutes and then take them out and it works as a moisturizer,” explained 17-year-old Reem Sheazadi.

Dozens of students from both the junior and adult programs participated in the event. The junior program is for students still in high school and the adult program serves those over 21 who are interested in obtaining a cosmetology license.

Many of the clients who came in last Wednesday were friends and family of the students, eager to see what their loved ones had learned.

“Today I’m doing some nails, a manicure, and some blowouts,” said Mattituck student Katherina Saravia, 16. “And I’m going to be straightening my mom’s hair and curling it at the end.”

Hailey Morgan, who attends Longwood High School, was excited to share what she’s been learning during the fall semester with her 3-year-old sister.

“She loves when I do her hair and she’s going to come and see the salon, so that’s exciting,” Hailey said.

Although this was a special four-hour charity event, anyone who’d like their hair or nails done by the BOCES students can make appointments at their salons in the Harry B. Ward Technical Center in Riverhead, where “An Afternoon of Beauty” was held.

“It’s fun,” Reem said of the cosmetology program. “We have the opportunity to do stuff on hair and it’s helped us to learn what we are good at and what we are not good at. They’re helping us to figure out what we need more work on.”

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