Mane Event a Hit in Silver Creek

Mane Event a Hit in Silver Creek

She describes herself as a housewife who wants to get involved with teaching kids to take care of themselves. But Lauren Fenton, a Cassadaga resident and home-based business owner who spearheaded a three-day, pop-up hair-and-care clinic to serve more than 70 students at Silver Creek Elementary School, is being modest. She has a main – and a mane – mission.

 “I would really like all kids to know they don’t have to all be the same,” she said Thursday (March 1, 2018) as she prepared to wash a fourth-grader’s hair in a makeshift salon in a small room in the Nurse’s Office. “And that it’s OK. My motto is: Be clean, be caring, be confident.”

Fenton is a 2004 graduate of the Cosmetology program of the Career & Technical Education division of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia. She brought her sister Kay McElwain, sister-in-law Libby Martin, and Savvy Hair Salon owner Dawn Beckman, all from Cassadga, along to assist. Her beauty brigade was rounded out with a few current senior Cosmetology students from LoGuidice – Karlie Skellie and Lianna DiRusso from Fredonia and Jennica D’Angelo from Brocton – who are studying under teacher Lori Sam. Coincidentally, Sam was Fenton’s teacher at LoGuidice 15 years ago.

The hairdressers rotated through shifts, with three to four cutting hair in the makeshift salon each day. They toiled over tendrils and labored over locks during the 3-day clinic, which ran Tuesday, Feb. 27 through Thursday, March 1, 2018. They dispensed tips about how to properly wash and care for their hair and overall promoted positivity, good character and healthy hygiene habits.

School Nurse Jennifer Johnson, who also heads the district Wellness Committee, helped coordinate the clinic. She hopes the effort, which is in keeping with the mission of the district’s Wellness Committee and aligns with its Board of Education’s goals for working with the community, becomes an annual tradition.

“Lauren sees how good the students feel about themselves,” said Johnson. “She gives them tips on caring for their hair. There is a true transformation that occurs in between when a child walks into the clinic and when they walk out. You see the smiles and the confidence all over their faces.”

Students in Kindergarten through fifth grade were welcome to sign up for a haircut appointment. A small room and cramped corridor off the Nurse’s Office were decorated like a mini-salon with magazines and refreshments -- cookies and lemon water – were available for the students to enjoy. Each student had their hair washed, cut and styled. There weren’t too many drastic makeovers, but a handful of students opted shear off several inches of hair. Cornrows, bobs, trims, French braids – if the student asked for it, the stylists worked to accommodate the request.

 “I saw these two fourth-graders encounter each other and give each other high-fives,” Fenton said. “One of them said, ‘Man, you look really good!’ And I don’t usually hear kids talk to each other like that. It was really sweet. I said to them, ‘Don’t change’ and one of the kids said, ‘We’re friends – why wouldn’t I compliment him?’ ”

It was a week of heart-warming moments, as the students who signed up and returned permission slips to participate in the clinic got the full VIP experience: pampering, style consultations, friendly chats about personal grooming, refreshments. Free samples of shampoo and conditioner were handed out along with hair accessories.

Fenton previously held a hair-and-care clinic at the Cassadaga Valley Central School District in December 2017. It was met with robust participation and enthusiasm, inspiring Fenton to continue her grassroots scissors-and-comb campaign. She runs Fenton Beauty Products out of her home, but also occasionally works out of a local salon, Haircare by Robin, run by Robin Jordan, whom Fenton credits with inspiring her to explore cosmetology as a vocation. 

When the scissors were put away and the portable hair-washing sink was dried off, more than 70 students received mini-makeovers – and some valuable life lessons.

Fenton and her bevy of beauticians would like to visit more schools in Chautauqua County.

“I want to go anywhere that I’m asked to go,” Fenton said. “And I’m always looking for more local hairdressers to participate.”

Schools and organizations interested in learning more about facilitating of a pop-up hair-and-care clinic – as well as individuals who want to volunteer their services or donate to the cause – should contact Fenton via her Fenton Beauty Products page on Facebook, or via email at lauren@fentonmobility.com or by phone at (716) 397-4602. 

Cassadaga resident Lauren Fenton of Fenton Beauty Products consults with fourth-grade customer Alexandria Parks about her hairstyle request. Fenton’s motto is “Be clean, be caring, be confident.” She is a 2004 graduate of the Cosmetology program of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia.

Cassadaga resident Lauren Fenton of Fenton Beauty Products consults with fourth-grade customer Alexandria Parks about her hairstyle request. Fenton’s motto is “Be clean, be caring, be confident.” She is a 2004 graduate of the Cosmetology program of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES at the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia. 


Cosmetology student Jennica D’Angelo of Brocton works on cornrows for fourth-grader Nick Bulow.

Cosmetology student Jennica D’Angelo of Brocton works on cornrows for fourth-grader Nick Bulow.


 First-grader Serenity Winger clutches a cookie as she settles in for a shampoo at a pop-up hair-and-care salon in the Nurse’s Office at Silver Creek Elementary School.

First-grader Serenity Winger clutches a cookie as she settles in for a shampoo at a pop-up hair-and-care salon in the Nurse’s Office at Silver Creek Elementary School.