Cut and confidence: Chicanos Por la Causa offers free back-to-school haircuts to boost confidence, help families

Mayra Idalgo and Kenia Arechiga cut Yolanda Morenos’ hair during the back-to-school event hosted at Chicanos Por La Causa on July 26, 2023. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

Adults and children were invited to the Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center for free haircuts on July 26, 2023. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

Ulises Duarte donated his afternoon on July 26, 2023, to assist with a Chicanos Por La Causa community event. Here, he gives Ja’quan Wroten a free haircut. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

Five-year-old Emiliano Contrera receives a free haircut from Anthony Venzor as the child prepares to go back to school. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

Dozens of children and adults wait for a free haircut at the annual back-to-school haircut event at the Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center in Phoenix. (Photo by Evelin Ruelas/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Inflation may have cooled slightly in June, but back-to-school preparations are still costing families more this year.

To ease some of that burden, Chicanos Por La Causa Community Center hosted a back-to-school event this week. The nonprofit offered free haircuts for families to ensure everyone can look their best for the beginning of the school year.

“These events do not only help people feel confident and ready for the start of school, but it also gives us an opportunity to engage with the community and educate families on other services we provide year round,” said Marissa Calderón, associate director of family empowerment at Chicanos Por La Causa.

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The nonprofit formed in 1969 to fight discrimination against the Mexican American community, according to its website. It offers programs that focus on health and human services, housing, education, education and advocacy.

Families packed into the community center in the Carl Hayden neighborhood for the event.

Back-to-school season means families must budget and that sometimes means kids will go without haircuts and other non-essential items and services, Calderón said.

Families with children in K-12 grades plan to spend an average of $890 on back-to-school items this year, about $25 more than last year, according to the annual survey from the National Retail Federation. Respondents said they needed to spend more this year because they need more new supplies and big-ticket items, such as computers, phones and calculators.

Evelin Ruelas eh-beh-leen roo-eh-las
News Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Evelin Ruelas expects to graduate in August 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.