Bikes and braids: How one school district is teaching life skills, too

Up-to-date: 8:34 a.m.

Fourth grader Ali Butler loves doing hair.

“I just like to do it. It will make me really feel satisfied,” mentioned Butler, 10. “And I just do not like when people seem like a hot mess.”

Hair styling is what Ali would like to do when she grows up.

Kids smile while sitting in chairs in a cafeteria.

Ali Butler, 10, attended the Braids and Bikes occasion Tuesday.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR News

“I have a mannequin. I do it on my mates, I do it on my family. I attempt to do it every day so I can get much better, and far better and better,” she explained on a current evening in the crowded fitness center of Riverside Central Elementary University in Rochester, Minn. 

Ali is a little bit of a hair pro. She’s just finished braiding her teacher’s hair. And her very own hair seems really fantastic, much too. 

But hair care — primarily for textured hair — is not a thing that arrives the natural way to every person. And this occasion at Riverside is intended to train young ones and their mom and dad some primary expertise. 

It is a lesson that matches squarely into Riverside’s mission as a neighborhood college — a educating product that goes beyond academics and incorporates techniques pupils could possibly not or else be exposed to — like snowshoeing or creating artwork installations. At Riverside, college students have obtain to a useful resource home where foods, dresses and other fundamental materials are cost-free to get home.

Kids smile while sitting in chairs in a cafeteria.

Riverside Central Assistant Principal Erin Rahman fixes a younger girl’s hair at a table in the school cafeteria.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR News

And in its place of instructors just undertaking the function, Riverside and Rochester’s six other local community faculties carry in gurus from all above, often inviting mother and father and relatives to take part, also. 

“We actually want to make guaranteed we are there for families,” explained Melissa Brandt, transitions and fostering connections coordinator for the school district. This is the next celebration the district has set on in a group faculty — and she suggests turnout has been unexpectedly very good. 

“We know, if little ones are much healthier, they’re in a position to occur to school far more and if kids’ … requires are fulfilled in other strategies, then they’re in a position to engage in discovering,” she mentioned.

On the lookout and feeling good

An adult helps braid a child's hair.

Hairstylist and small business owner Folashade Oloye models Aliyah Jackson’s hair Tuesday at Riverside.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR News

In the health club, hair salon owner Folashade Oloye tied very small, limited braids into Aliyah Jackson’s hair. 

As she worked on the 14-year-old’s hair, she offered a suggestion for holding her hair balanced. “I informed her she requires to get her ends trimmed simply because she’s hoping to expand her hair out, so each and every 10 months she should really trim a little bit,” Oloye explained.

Aliyah’s mother, Samantha Jackson, who is white, appreciated the suggestions. 

“I really don’t have that hair texture so I seriously never know how to hold it moisturized and searching excellent,” mentioned Jackson.

Hair treatment is partly about constructing confidence and self-appreciate, stated Oloye, who urges her customers to enjoy their hair and embrace what they have.

Kids smile while sitting in chairs in a cafeteria.

Analys Rivera, 10, has her hair brushed and braided by Hoover Elementary School staffer Nashauna Johnson-Lenoir.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR Information

She also wants kids and parents to see hair salons and barbershops as a put of community and support. 

“Sometimes, an individual may possibly be on the edge of just pure, you know, melancholy or anything like that. And at the time they leave they are feeling so a great deal much better about by themselves. They’re on the lookout superior, they’re emotion superior, and they truly feel uplifted when they are with me,” she explained. 

Training daily life skills

An adult helps a child ride a bike in a parking lot.

Jo Anne Judge-Dietz of Olmsted County Community Health and fitness provides guidelines to Tevon Jackson, 8, on a bike system chalked on the playground pavement.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR Information

Outside the house the school, young ones are biking by means of an obstacle class set up by the district’s Protected Routes to School plan. 

Substantially like hair treatment, biking is a person of these simple skills that some kids might battle to accessibility, suggests Kara Merrill, a group educational institutions coordinator at Ben Franklin Elementary University, a different local community college in Rochester. 

“Riding bikes is a massive one particular, it is really a transportation device,” she said. “There’s a ton of security that goes along with it. And so we determine, ‘Why not educate youngsters and anybody who arrives the abilities of driving a bicycle, as very well as how to care for your hair and style your hair?’”

An adult helps a child ride a bike in a parking lot.

Rochester Law enforcement Officer James Marsoleck helps Jameson Smith get begun using a bike at the celebration.

Ken Klotzbach for MPR Information

For Anthony Smith, this bicycle clinic is great for his son, Jameson, 7.

“We’re making an attempt to get him on the bike. He’s just not excellent with the balance, I imagine,” Smith explained. 

And just like that, Jameson zips by Anthony and his spouse, Jennifer.

“Good task, brilliant buddy!” Anthony yells immediately after his son. 

Correction (Might 31, 2022): An earlier variation of this story had misspelled names in image captions for Folashade Oloye and Jameson Smith. The captions have been updated.

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