#curlyhaircare – Call of Action to the Natural Hair Community in Grand Rapids

What is #curlykidscare?

#curlykidscare is a grassroots natural hair and product drive so created by Marley Ariyahu and Leonica Erwin. It’s designed to get the community involved in Kent County’s child welfare system by creating 250 personal grooming kids with products targeting curly-haired children. These #curlykidscare packages will be donated to the West Michigan Partnership for Children (WMPC) and its five partner agencies, Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Charities of West Michigan, DA Blodgett/St. Johns, Samaritas, and Wellspring Lutheran Services (my agency).


Marley and I at Wellspring Lutheran Services coming up with a strategy.


The kits will contain:

·       Comb & brush, afro pic, wave brush, or sponge

·       Shampoo/co-wash and conditioner

·       Hair moisturizer

·       Styling product

·       Hair bonnet or wave cap

·       Moisturizing bar/facial soap and body wash

·       Skin moisturizer (e.g., lotion, creams, oils and butters)

·       Hair & Skin Care Tips & Resources


#naturalhairfostercare #curlykidscare


Why curly kids?

There were 827 kids in Kent County’s foster care system at the end of 2017, and 55% are likely to require hair and skin products that are not readily available in foster care homes and agencies.


These are two of my little cousins that my husband and I served as a relative provider a few years ago. I have four sons. I had no idea how to care for and style these babies hair. I was just learning to properly care for my own. #truestory


A large percentage of Kent County’s foster children were removed from 49507 zip code into other areas that do not offer the hair and skin products curly kids in care need due to a lack of demand. Foster parents voiced that they are often frustrated because they do not know what tools, products and techniques to style the hair and moisturize the skin of the children who live in their homes. The foster care workers feel incompetent because they cannot offer any tangible advice. Birth parents are frustrated because they don’t feel their children’s basic hygiene needs are being met when they have visits. The curly kids don’t feel good about their appearance which doesn’t help them cope with the situation they are in. That’s not acceptable any more.

Marley spent two years in a foster care placement without appropriate products for her curly hair and skin during her childhood. She attended a school and lived in a neighborhood where other children teased her because her hair was not well maintained. It was because of those negative experiences that she had to learn how to style her own hair at a young age. Marley soon started making hair and skin products and is now a successful entrepreneur with her own beauty shop and an organic hair and skin product line called Beauty of Tziyon. She would like to make sure all kids in care have their basic needs meet and the adults caring for them have ample resources to ensure this. As the co-creater of Natural Hair GR, a support group for the Grand Rapids’ natural hair community with over 3,000 members, Marley is asking the group to help spread the world to get 25 local businesses, organizations and groups to serve as collection sites for donations. 

Marley and I  met at natural hair meetups organized by the Kinky Hair Connection and Natural Hair GR.


DaLoveLEE1.com is a natural hair and social blog I created to inform the natural hair community about relevant issues. I’ve worked 15 ears Wellspring Lutheran Services, a social service agency that provides supportive programs for families, and that has shown me that curly kids in care is very relevant in the natural community. I’ve seen the frustrations children in care, their parents, foster parents and foster care workers have related to personal grooming and hair care for curly kids. I have found the natural hair community that’s been growing in Grand Rapids over the last few years to be very empowering and community-oriented. Many of the Natural Hair GR members are business owners, community activists and leaders. That’s why I teamed up with Marley to take on this project.

Why the Natural Hair Community

Black haircare is an $8 billion dollar industry. Beauty and barber shops have always been a stabilizing force (socially and financially) in the black community and specialize in curly haircare. This population is sensitive to issues surrounding positive self-image, curly haircare, and self-empowerment. Many have scars similar to Marley’s from being teased about nappy hair and ashy skin. The natural hair community understand the relationship between appearance and self-esteem. We need to build the self-esteem of all of our children, of foster children and of curly hair children.


I’ve made a lot of connections by sharing #myhairstory that I’m getting ready to contact.


This is a great time for the community to partner with child welfare agencies to create haircare workshops for foster parents and children, engage foster children in mentoring, tutoring or sports programs, and many other initiatives. Please note that all of Kent County businesses, organizations, and groups are invited to assist, not just natural hair enthusiasts. If you care for Kent County kids, we need you.. Just contact Marley at (616) 634-8066 or me at (616)443-7853 to g. You can also email us at beautyoftziyon@gmail.com and msleonica@dalovelee1.com.

Some of the businesses and organizations that have already stepped up to support this initiative are:

·       Battle GR*

·       Beauty of Tziyon

·       DaLoveLEE1 Natural Hair & Personal Blog

·       Executive Cutz and Styles*

·       Hook A Sista Up (HASU)*

·       Rock Candy Earrings by Della Marie

·       Studio 824 Beauty Lounge

·       Wellspring Lutheran Services*

* Collection site for hair and skin products

What’s Needed From the Community Now

  • 21 additional businesses, organizations or groups to serve as collection sites where the community can drop of hair and skin products between February 14 and February 28.
  •  25 storage bins for businesses, organizations and groups to collect supplies
  • Printing awareness brochures for community
  • Presentation boards, markers, paper ect. to create signs that will accompany bins
  • 250 boxes to make the kits
  • Volunteers to create the #curlykidscare packages
  • Businesses, organizations and groups interested in partnering to serve kids in child welfare.
  • People to spread the world. Post & share my people. You know how we do. 

Monetary contributions can be accepted online at https://wellspringlutheran.com/give-serve#tm-main-as a gift “in honor of “ #naturalhairfostercare. Checks cards can be dropped off or mailed to Wellspring Lutheran Services Att: Leonica Erwin, 1715 Sutherland Dr. SE, Kentwood, MI 49508. Cash is king but we need a paper trail, so gift cards are preferred to cash. Sorry for the inconvenience but thanks for understanding.


Posted by DaLoveLee1

I recently realized I have a passion for natural hair during on my journey toward self-acceptance and love. So much of who I am has always revolves around my hair. It reflects how I feel about myself internally. When I am depressed or stressed, I don't do my hair. If I do look like a million bucks, I feel like a million bucks, even if I'm flat broke. I started documenting my transition on Facebook and it spread to Instagram. I have been amazed at how I have come to love my kinks and curls. I didn't even know how to care for it when a started transitioning. It has been so liberating. I assumed the name LoveLEE around the same time as my transition because I needed to remind myself that I'm worthy of love. The image of women like me is skewed by the media and negative stereotypes. I refuse to confine since of love and beauty to society's standards. I'm starting this blog so other women will know that they don't have to be boxed in either. You are beautiful and flawless just the way you are.

Thanks for joining me.

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