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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Wigs for Kids inspires SJVC staffer to make the kindest cut of all

July 24, 2018

SJVC Career Services Regional Director Devon with her new hair cutDevon Dilley, Regional Career Services Director for the Fresno and Madera campuses, had an idea for a way to motivate students on both campuses to raise money for Brain Cancer Awareness Month. “I told students that if they could raise $1,000, they could cut my hair,” says Devon.

Veronica Behringer, Dean of Student Services on the Fresno campus, took it from there. She challenged all students on both campuses to make it happen. But it was the Medical Assisting club on the Fresno campus that led the charge.

“It was my plan all along to stimulate action – and the M.A. club likes a good challenge,” says Veronica. “They are a very active club and always looking for something to give back to the community. They took it and ran with it. Plus, they all wanted to see her (Devon) sheared,” she laughs.

Wigs for Kids is well worth their efforts. For over 30 years, Wigs for Kids has provided hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair because of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, burns and other medical issues. There is no cost to parents of the children who receive these custom hair pieces, as the organization depends largely on financial contributions and donations of hair.

Often when kids suffer severe hair loss, they lose more than their familiar outward appearance; they also lose their self-confidence and a positive self-image.

So many SJVC students, especially those who have chosen a career in the medical field, were eager to help.

For several weeks, each campus held BBQs, dress-down days, bake sales, carnival and gift card raffles to make their goal. Devon was excited for their fundraising successes but was a little nervous about the possibility of losing over a foot of her long, luxurious hair.

“The Madera campus did a Super Heroes Day and a couple of Jean’s Days,” says Devon. “They also did ‘Change for Change,’ where they put money jars throughout the campus for people to drop in pocket change. They raised $150, and it was really exciting for them. “Business Administration instructor Mr. Ponce took charge and made sure that fundraisers were activated.”

“Organizing all the activities and motivating all the Medical Assistant Club members to raise money and meet our goal was something that we enjoyed because we knew it will make a great impact in the lives of little ones,” says Luis Renteria, M.A. Club President.

Weeks of fundraising concluded in time for a huge Fresno campus BBQ celebration. Exactly $1,079.26 was raised during this joint campus effort – comfortably over the $1,000 goal. To lock in the success of the event, Mike Perry, SJVC CEO and President, matched the event’s $1,000 goal with a check from the corporate office. Total revenue: $2,158.

“When we found out that if we met our goal, the founders of SJVC were going to donate an additional $1,000, this motivated us to work twice as hard,” says Luis.

Now it was time for Devon to part company with a few years of hair growth and the BBQ celebration was the perfect venue. Medical Assisting Club members and other celebration attendees gathered around her.

“The haircut took around 20 minutes,” says Devon, who was lucky to have General Education instructor Shanna Milano, who is also a cosmetologist, perform the honor. “At first, I was a little shocked. It was very short…a lot shorter than I anticipated. Shanna did a great job.” Devon is enjoying the new hairdo even more as temps heat up.

The campuses are looking forward to making their contribution to Wigs for Kids. “We can send a check for $2,158….and my hair!” laughs Devon.

So many benefited from such a heartfelt effort. “We are proud of this accomplishment and pledge to continue making the difference in our community,” says Luis.

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