By Deb Everts
Students from the Cosmetology Program at the Ellicottville Career and Technical Center (CTE) volunteered at the 2018 Hunter’s Hope Family & Medical Symposium held July 18-22 at Holiday Valley Resort.
Accompanied by instructor Tracy Guntrum, three cosmetology students who will be seniors this fall were onsite at Creekside Lodge from 9 a.m. to noon July 20, where they offered mini-salon services for the visiting children.
The services included painting nails, braiding hair and hands-on activities where the kids could actually play with the hair on the mannequins — comb the hair, brush it and learn how to braid. The kids also tried doing nail art on artificial nails.
Guntrum said the Hunter’s Hope families come from all over the world and there are a lot of sick children there, but a lot of siblings and other family members come as well. The cosmetology activity is just one of many things they can do to have fun and feel good.
“Last year when the cosmetology students did this, we found that the kids preferred to do the services themselves instead of having them done for them,” she said.
According to Guntrum, the main goal for the cosmetology class is to educate them into an entry-level position as a cosmetologist. In order to get the 1,000 hours required for licensing by New York state, the students have to do extra-curricular projects before they can take their state board exams.
“With the two-year program, even if they came every single day to school and never had one sick day, they still cannot get the 1,000-hours in,” she explained. “They have to do an additional internship volunteering and working in a salon and/or a summer school program.”
This volunteer activity at the Hunter’s Hope event is part of the summer school program, Guntrum said, and volunteer work is good practice for her students. She said working with the public and any kind of work with kids is good for the education and social skills of her girls.
Anna Grantham, director of Leukodystrophy Care Network (LCN) programs, said 55 families from Canada and across the United States came to the symposium Holiday Valley, which has hosted it several times before.
“After we got here on Monday (July 16), we started with our medical providers on the first part of the week,” she said. “Then, we had a couple of days where it’s the medical providers and families together. For the rest of the week, it’s the families just having fun.”
Grantham said they are celebrating 20 years of Hunter’s Hope and they are trying to make a difference. Kid Camp is held everyday while the parents are in sessions learning from the doctors and other families about LCN.
“The neat thing about Kid Camp is a lot of the kids are siblings of affected children, so this time is just as special for them as it is for their parents,” she explained. “They get to make lifelong friendships with other kids who understand their life. It’s a healing time for them.”
The annual Hunter’s Hope Family & Medical Symposium is held each year at various locations for the purpose of bringing together the world’s leading Leukodystrophy experts with families affected by these diseases.
During a week of learning, sharing and fun, families reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The organization’s goal is to provide families with a fun, relaxing and fulfilling time, while learning from medical experts about these devastating diseases.
To learn more about the cosmetology program, visit online at caboces.org. For more details, visit huntershope.org.