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Girl talk with Danice Hinds


Girl talk with Danice Hinds

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Five years ago, while Danice Hinds was sitting in a class at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, an idea popped into her head to start a club. Although she wrote it down, knowing exactly what her objectives were she just didn’t pursued it.

The idea wouldn’t go away, and finally came to fruition last month.

She and her team, which includes her mother Vernice, aim to prepare girls ten and 11 years old for the next stage of their education as they transition from primary to secondary school.

The 20-something hairstylist who operates Project HAIR2SOUL, knew just what she wanted for her six-week long Girls’ Club. Areas such as etiquette, bullying and conflict resolution, and having a savings account – things she believes girls should know about – were all a part of the club which was held at The Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology.

There was no epiphany, no aha moment, no voice in her head telling her it was time to start it either. Gradually, after many conversations with her clients, and the fact that the club was on her to-do list, she felt it was time to get it done.

“When I went to Alexandra School, I had my mum and my older sister, but I wanted somebody a little closer in age just to talk to me and let me talk to them and tell them what I was feeling at school. I didn’t experience anything bad, but . . . I believe the sessions like etiquette and savings are not taught in school, and those are the curricular activities I feel our girls should have. So, I really wanted to facilitate a space where that can happen,” Danice told EASY from her Sargeant’s Village salon.

 “Then coupled with the school violence, not specifically happening with girls, but I strongly believe that most of what is happening comes from the fact that people don’t have someone to communicate with; so they turn to bullying and the other stuff. If they have somebody – it doesn’t have to be in their home – they can go to and talk it out or say, ‘You know what? I’m really angry and I’m not sure why but I want somebody to talk to’.

“Then that can help. So that’s why I said let me start, let me just do it, and facilitate this space,” she said.

The feedback has been overwhelming and the demand for her to have another one for older girls has been high.

“For this one I really stuck to the vision that I had, which was primary to secondary; but for the next one I definitely would look at including some older girls. This club had 11 girls and I would consider increasing the number also, but I had to see how this one went, the space I had and the availability of mentors. So now that I pretty much understand how those logistics work, I can increase the numbers,” Danice added.

People were brought in to make presentations. Danice, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in banking and finance, facilitated the financial session. What she was able to help the girls do was see where the majority of their money went and help them save for bigger goals. She had the girls create vision boards for savings, and offered tips to get started.

The etiquette session was fantastic, she recalled, because in addition to the girls getting dolled up, they were escorted to their seats where there were menus from which to choose each dish – from appetizers right through to dessert. On top of that, a graduate of the PomMarine Hotel taught them how to use each piece of cutlery correctly. They were also taught the proper way to sit at the table.

Another session which looked at behavioural patterns and self esteem was done in collaboration with someone who runs sessions for children.

“In the final week, we will have a presentation. We had a savings challenge and the girls had to write tips in their book. The person who saved the most money based on the tips in their book would get their money matched. They also have to do a five-minute presentation on their vision board,” she noted.

As for parents being involved, Danice said their “response was overwhelming.”

 “I had a parent tell me she wished she was ten just so she could be a part of the club. The parents really embraced it. Another parent said that while there were other clubs, [none was] quite like what we put on. Also, because the numbers are small, there are four regular aunties every Saturday.

“We know the girls by name, we know a little bit about each of them and some of them are already telling us the visions that they have and what they want to be. We’re able to connect with them more than if there were 30 people in the classroom, and the parents really love that as well. They love that the girls can really be personal.

“The reason why I didn’t want to have such a wide range of girls too is if we had a ten-year-old and a 16-year-old, the 16-year-old’s emotions are definitely not the ten-year-old’s and the issues are not the same either. Then, I would need more manpower to deal with the gap in the ages. Now that we have been through the first six weeks we can look at more manpower to facilitate a wider age group,” she said. 

The hairstylist is a proponent of the use of technology and sees nothing wrong with the use of social media, but thinks it is the fuel that starts some spats among girls.

“Some of our girls don’t have the capacity to motivate themselves, or say ‘Let me stay in my lane’. I don’t know if this comes from the homes . . . but if they are able to tell someone how they’re feeling, then someone can tell them . . . that they will achieve their goal. Yes, there are people who will tell them they will be fine, but most people want someone who can give them three bullet points and say how they can be fine. This is how I feel I could help by not just saying it will be okay but showing them how,” she shared. (DS)