Helping the Self-Esteem of Children

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier…”
So goes the chart topping Whitney Houston song. Sure, we sing along, but how many of us actually put these beautiful lyrics into action?
Maggie Varney, Founder & CEO of Wigs 4 Kids Wellness Center, and her staff believe deeply in protecting the dignity of children and fostering their desire to be just kids. They demonstrate their dedication daily by helping children connect with their inner beauty, realize their outer beauty and develop a positive sense of self.
While there are other organizations that provide wigs for children, Maggie discovered that Michigan lacked an organization that did so at no cost regardless of the reason for the hair loss. A very important distinction. In 2003, she set out to change that and as word of her new endeavor spread, she was able to transform the lives of countless children thanks to the support of donors and volunteers. By 2005, Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan received a non-profit designation.
“Our focus is on children from preschool age through 18, coping with hair loss from cancer treatments, alopecia and trichotillomania,” explained Maggie. “We provide custom-made, age-appropriate wigs absolutely free to help them as they grapple with their changing outer appearance. We also assist them as they struggle with social, emotional and psychological issues associated with enduring life altering medical conditions.”
To offer these expanded services, the Wigs 4 Kids Wellness Center was established in 2010. Children benefit from free therapeutic activities including art, music and drama therapy, tutoring, self-empowerment and yoga classes. The Wellness Center is equipped with designated space for special activities, an area for Wigs 4 Kids merchandise and private offices for individual counseling sessions for both the child and family members.
Locally, Maggie connected with the oncology departments of seven hospitals, cosmetology schools, churches, businesses and communities to raise awareness and support for her mission. Wigs 4 Kids received 8,000 hair donations last year, which helped defray the cost of the wigs. However, even with the hair donations, the expense of creating each wig is $800. It’s easy to see that although Maggie is fiscally responsible, Wigs 4 Kids is debt free; it is a constant financial challenge to keep up with demand.
“We are blessed to receive volunteer support in the form of time and services,” Maggie said. “Yet, we continue to require financial donations. Our ‘Time, Talent and Treasure’ campaign breaks it down: Time: Come Volunteer! Talent: Donate Your Talent and Skills! Treasure: Make a Monetary Contribution. We are funded solely by these contributions and gratefully accept donations.”
Not only is Wigs 4 Kids unique in Michigan and the U.S., according to Maggie it is the only center of its kind in the world. Amazingly, she receives calls from countries as far flung as Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Iraq. Obviously, she has tapped into an important, and until now, unmet need.
Visit www.wigs4kids.org, or visit the Wellness Center at 30126 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI 48082.  586-772-6656  Email: [email protected] Get quick updates about fund-raisers and special events on Facebook and Twitter.

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