Teen Who Was in Foster Care Raises Money to Help Black Girls in System Receive Hair Products
An Indiana teenager who recently aged out of the foster care system is doing her part to help others – one hair care basket at a time.
Kaylee Thomas knew from her own experiences just how difficult it was to be a foster child constantly moving around to different homes, according to NBC affiliate WTHR.
“When you go to a foster home, you don’t get to bring anything with you,” she told the outlet. “You get to pack something up in a trash bag, and you just go. And a lot of times, you don’t even get to do that.”
But Thomas, 17, also recognized that those challenges were even tougher for Black girls, who often didn’t have the proper hair care products in their new foster homes.
So Thomas vowed to make a change – and after aging out of the system, she is now raising money in order to collect 50 baskets filled with about $30 of hair products for Black girls in the foster care system, WTHR reported.
“Traveling all the time between foster homes, you never know what you’re going to get,” she explained to the outlet. “For me with my hair, I can do whatever with it, but for kids of color in the system, they can’t. They have to have special products, and foster parents just don’t provide that.”
“Even though it’s something small, it’s something so big that it’s going to mean the world to them,” she added.
To make her goal happen, Thomas teamed up with the Children’s Bureau Inc., a private nonprofit that serves children and families in Indiana, WTHR reported.
Together, they have been using the money that Thomas raised to create baskets filled with hair care products that are inclusive to the variety of textures that African American hair can have, according to the outlet.
The basket includes detangling combs, hair gel, shampoo and conditioner, as well as a hair bonnet for sleeping, which Thomas said she was inspired to include because of her best friend.
“My best friend is African American, and she will tell you she doesn’t sleep without her bonnet,” the teen told WTHR.
Along with helping Black girls obtain the proper hair products, Thomas said she hopes her project will spread awareness about the importance of inclusivity to foster parents in the area.
“It’s not only to educate themselves about the hair care products but also racial equality in general. Being really inclusive and helping other kids of color,” Thomas told WTHR.
“It makes me feel so good that I can help them with that,” she added. “This could change someone’s life. You never know, and the idea of that makes me feel really good inside.”