Girl’s gift is made with style

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2004

By SUE ELLEN ROSS – Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Dominique DiCarlo has developed the spirit of giving at a very young age.

The St. Joan of Arc sixth-grader recently made a special contribution to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization located in Texas. This group collects human hair to be used for the designing of hairpieces. These custom-fitted creations are given to financially disadvantaged children who have experienced the loss of scalp hair due to a medical condition.

“I’m very healthy. I thank God for that,” said Dominique. “I wanted to help someone less fortunate than me.”

The 12-year-old first heard of Locks of Love through a friend that had donated last year. She mentioned the program to her parents, Donna and Perry DiCarlo, who then researched the organization on the Internet.

“I felt this would be a good experience for her,” said her dad. “It gives her a sense of giving to others in need.”

Locks of Love uses a special fitting design for the children which allows for use without tape or glue. The main ingredient – human hair – comes strictly from donations.

After the decision to donate was made, Donna DiCarlo made an appointment for her daughter with hairstylist Rachelle Rollo, who is also Dominique’s aunt. Rollo gave the haircut free of charge, since she felt her niece was performing a worthwhile task. “I had heard of Locks of Love, and know that the program is for a good cause.” she said.

Although Rollo’s hair salon is not associated with Locks of Love, participating local salons are listed on the website.

Dominique had a special request regarding her donation. She wanted to meet the child who would receive her hair. She asked her parents to arrange it.

“I called both Locks of Love and the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans,” said Perry DiCarlo. “They were unable to allow this.” The organization cited both the logistics involved with making the hairpiece, and also the confidentiality of the child and their family.

Although Dominique was disappointed that she couldn’t meet the child who would benefit from her contribution, she understands the reasons. And, she would not have changed a thing. “Giving really is the right thing to do,” she said.

Donna DiCarlo said she feels this experience is teaching her daughter quite a bit about life. “Dominique understands there are less fortunate children out there,” she said. “She wasn’t nervous about getting her hair cut, she was doing it because she wanted to. She is a very caring young lady.”

Locks of Love began in 1997 and helped more than 1,000 children during its first year in operation. The organization receives many cartons of hair each week, arriving from many states throughout the country.

According to the non-profit organization, they are classified strictly as a charity and are in no way associated with any hair replacement company or hair care industry.

There are stipulations for those wanting to donate their locks. Hair must be a minimum of 10 inches, cannot be synthetic and must be bundled in a braid or ponytail. It can be colored or permed, but not bleached or chemically damaged. Hair swept off the floor is not usable.

Hair that is short, gray, or unsuitable for children will be separated and sold at fair market value to offset the cost of manufacturing.

For more information, call Locks of Love at 1-888-896-1588.