Memphis nonprofit teaches teens cosmetology during summer camp

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 3:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Dozens of teenage girls filled a lecture hall at the University of Memphis Tuesday morning to learn about beauty and hair care.

“I have been a licensed professional for 16 years now,” said Adrienne Small, founder of the Adrienne Small Foundation.

She says being in the beauty and haircare industry is something she knew she always wanted to do from a young age.

Small’s foundation provides girls with four months of sessions that teach team building, leadership skills, and classes on maintaining mental health.

The sessions all culminate into a one-week Girlprenuer Beauty summer camp.

“We had a teacher yesterday that created her own flat iron, and we gave them away. When the girls opened the box and it looked like something that could be sold at a high-end store, they were amazed that a black woman here in Memphis Tennessee created that,” said Small.

Throughout the week, girls ages 13 to 19 will be learning about building their own beauty brand and getting hands on experience.

“I just decided to buy a mannequin one day and braid the whole head and see what happens. Since then, I can’t stop braiding. My fingers won’t stop moving,” said Destinee Woods, a Memphis teen who found her passion for braiding years ago.

The recent high school grad saved $300 herself to take part in the training the Adrienne Small Foundation provides.

17-year-old Caden Foy is also pitching in to pay for her training and she hopes to become a licensed esthetician and help build others’ confidence.

“I’ve had problems with my own skin and if I can help someone else, that would be great,” said Foy.

At the end of the camp, all of the students will compete for thousands of dollars worth of scholarships provided by local and national sponsors that will help them attend beauty and hair schools.

Small has faith that all her students have what it takes to achieve all of what they’re capable of.

“We want to show them every aspect of the industry so that they can tap into it and then thrive,” said Small.

For more information on the Adrienne Small Foundation, visit the nonprofit’s site here.

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