Students raise money for Locks of Love

by Paige Turner

Students at Nemo Vista Elementary in Center Ridge recently raised more than $300 for Locks of Love during the school’s annual charity fundraiser.

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 who suffer from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

The Nemo Vista event took place during the three days before Valentine’s Day and included themed days for the students to participate in and donate money.

School Counselor Becky Barnhardt organized the fundraiser to coincide with the character lessons she had been teaching Nemo Vista students during February. “I had been teaching the students about compassion and love all February,” Barnhardt said. “I talked about love having multiple meanings and the importance of helping others out of love, even if you don’t know them.”

Nemo Vista participates in a charity fundraiser annually and selected Locks of Love as the organization of choice for this year’s efforts. Barnhardt said her husband gave her the idea of selecting the charity events. After bringing the idea back to the students of Nemo Vista, the entire school rallied behind raising as much money as possible for the organization in three days.

“The students were really excited about participating,” Barnhardt said. “I had been teaching the importance of helping others and helping others doesn’t have to require spending an enormous amount of money.”

The themed days began Monday, Feb. 11, with “Love the Cause,” a day students were encouraged to wear Valentine’s Day themed attire or pink and red. Tuesday, Feb. 12, was “Hat Hero Day,” which encouraged students and faculty to pay a dollar to wear their favorite hat to school. The fundraiser ended Wednesday, Feb. 13, with “Team Up Against Hair Loss,” a day encouraging students to wear their favorite team jersey or school shirt.

“Hat Hero Day was the most popular day for us,” Barnhardt said. “Wearing hats to school is typically against the rules so the students and faculty were really excited about being able to wear their favorite hat to class all day.”

At the end of the fundraiser, Nemo Vista Elementary raised $300 to be directly donated to Locks of Love.

Barnhardt also donated 10 inches of her own hair to the organization. Though the fundraiser was over, Barnhardt continued to inspire Nemo Vista students by encouraging a second grade student, Katherine Isely, to grow and donate her hair to the cause.

“I think the students really enjoyed helping someone with the money they’ve given,” Barnhardt said. “I’m proud of them for helping strangers simply because it is the right thing to do.”

For more information on Locks of Love, visit