Battling Family Homelessness with a Haircut

September 24, 2019

Prince was three when his big sister Aneshia was diagnosed with cancer. At a loss for how to help her, he decided to grow his hair with the intention of donating it to her.

Prince before his haircutIn the midst of this crisis, the Union County, New Jersey, family lost their home.

Statistics show homelessness is especially traumatic for children – they’re more likely to be placed in special education programs, repeat a grade, and become depressed, anxious, or suicidal. Nearly half of these children drop out of school at least once.

Prince’s family didn’t want Prince and Aneshia to become part of these statistics. They learned of Family Promise, the national leader addressing the issue of family homelessness, which helped them find a new home and achieve stability.

When Aneshia passed away two years ago, Family Promise raised money to cover funeral expenses. And Prince continued growing his hair.

Nine years since he last visited a barbershop, 12-year-old Prince finally decided to honor his late sister by cutting his locks and donating them to a friend battling cancer. He wanted to make the occasion even more significant by spreading awareness of the crisis of family homelessness, so he sought sponsors and turned the event into a fundraiser for Family Promise, the organization that helped him and his family when they had nowhere else to turn.Prince after his haircut

Prince says, “Once we were homeless, and Family Promise helped us a lot, helped us find a house.”

Mike Tribuna of Luigi’s Barbershop in Union gave Prince his stylish new haircut, and Prince exceeded his fundraising goal of $1,000, raising over $1,600 for Family Promise. News 12 New Jersey broadcast the event, and CBS News’ social media news forum The Uplift picked up his story.

“It was a really fun evening and we’re all very proud of Prince,” says FPUC Executive Director Geleen Donovan. “Based on discussions with Prince and his mom, we’re using the money he raised to buy uniforms and school clothes for the children in our program. This is exactly the kind of chain reaction of giving back that Family Promise elicits from guests, graduates, and volunteers.”

The crisis of family homelessness knows no season. Thank you for supporting children and families in need all year long as a member of the Promise Guild. Because of people like you, families like Prince’s are able to conquer overwhelming challenges and find their way back to independence and stability.

Dial 211 to find more resources near you.