Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County Schools FRYSC's newest community outreach program, a custom school bus called "The Community Cruiser," was in action on Monday, stopping at both local elementary schools for free back-to-school haircuts to incoming students.
The Community Cruiser was made possible by a $100K grant awarded to Edmonson County Family Resource-Youth Services Center programs (FRYSC), which was part of a $15 million dollar project from the second round of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund 2 (GEER II) in the summer of 2021.
Several local hairstylists volunteered their services for the free haircuts that were sponsored by the FRYSC.
Nearly 70 haircuts were given as a steady stream of local students took advantage of the opportunity.
According to Jamie Carnes, Supervisor of Federal and State Programs for Edmonson County Schools, Monday's free haircut event was sparked by local professional Emily Vincent.
"With her help, we were able to get many other local stylists involved and offer a day of free haircuts for kids who might not have had the chance to get one prior to the start of school, otherwise," he said. "The turnout was great for this program's debut and we will likely begin to incorporate it into the FRYSC's yearly schedule. This event served as a prime example of how we would like the Community Cruiser to be utilized - community input identified a need and the Cruiser helped to fulfill it with support from great volunteers."
In addition to Mrs. Vincent, Rachel Carroll, Cherrie Pierce, Kim Wrye, Mendi Miller, Amanda Denham, Sherry Gibson all volunteered their services to provide free haircuts to local students.
Carnes said the organization envisions the Cruiser as a mobile outreach tool for our FRYS Centers.
"One example of our plan is to partner with local entities like A+ Family Healthcare and LifeSkills to provide underserved students with access to health and mental health-related care. Also, Cooperative Extension Agents plan to collaborate with the FRYSC mobile education unit in an effort to help provide access to classes such as Parenting, Food Preservation, and Cooking Classes. Once we have provisions for internet on board, we would be able to use the Cruiser as an access point and/or workstation for kids in the event of future school closures for illness or other unforeseen circumstances."
He also said that plans are in place to integrate the vehicle into existing FRYSC programming--especially that related to early childhood-- at all schools in the district, providing even more options than in previous years.
He added that they are always looking for feedback from the community for additional ways that the Cruiser can assist in the local community.
"Our Centers are always open to suggestions and welcome other community partners who have great ideas for how we might help put the Cruiser to work to benefit students and their families."