Katarina Burgin and Amy Francis

Katarina Burgin checks out her hair after Amy Francis snipped off several inches during Misunderstood’s free back-to-school haircut event Monday at Halifax County High School.

For moms, dads and grandparents who are helping children get ready for the first day of school, Misunderstood’s free back-to-school haircut event is a relief.

“It helps the community,” said Renetta Boxley, who had her two grandsons with her at the Monday event.

As her grandsons had their hair cut, she commented on how well behaved they had been, and the way the barbers took their time.

“They’re looking good,” she added.

Karl Mitter, one of the barbers representing Dixon’s Barbershop, said, “It feels good because I didn’t come from money. The smile on their faces is enough for me.”

Boxley’s grandsons were two of hundreds who came through Halifax County High School and left with a smile on their face to take with them to the first day of school on Wednesday.

What they may not know are the many different moving parts that joined together to put on Monday’s event.

Anthony Womack is the face of Misunderstood. But, he’s much more than that.

He’s formed bonds with young men between the ages of 10 to 18 and helps keep them in a positive environment.

For this particular event, he’s built a team of more than 10 barbers and beauticians who donate their time and skill to cut and trim hair for school-aged children from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Before the children left Halifax County High School, they each had a chance to learn a little bit more about Tri-County Community Action Agency’s Domestic Violence and Mentor Role Model programs, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Victorious Ambition and Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital.

Tracy Hill, personal banker with Wells Fargo, and her team gave out school supplies, and Anthony Logan with A & M Lawn Care donated bookbags while Cardaro Cole donated shoes to be raffled off.

“I feel blessed to have what I have, and it feels good to bless someone else,” said Cole.

After working with Victorious Ambition and seeking the work of Misunderstood, Hill said she was “inspired to give back. I’m proud to be a part of this event,” she added.

After having a backpack giveaway in July, Lynchburg resident Iesha Scott wanted to continue giving back.

“It’s a huge support to the family, and it’s great to see the smiles on the children’s faces,” said Scott.

While others were joining in on the event for the first time, Lee Bailey has been driving 10 hours to cook at the event for the past five years.

“I always support what (Anthony) has been trying to do for the younger generation,” said Bailey.

He grew up with Womack in the Sinai area and has witnessed a lack of guidance in the area.

“They don’t have a lot to do in that area, and Anthony provides guidance,” said Bailey.

Chris Davis, who operates his own organization, Perfect Timing, and donated plaques to give volunteers, said, “So many are misunderstood, and Anthony gives them an environment where they can share… I believe children learn by how they live, and dysfunction becomes normal for them. He helps open their eyes to other ways to behave and think. He lets them know they have what it takes.”

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com