AUSTIN (KXAN) — One woman is working to give back-to-school braids and hairstyles to children at a Central Texas shelter as a “little pick-me-up.”

“It’s something they deserve,” Jenny Perez, owner of Sonshine Braiding, said.

While back-to-school drives can set students up with backpacks and supplies, Perez hopes to give the children at SAFE Alliance a confidence boost to start the new school year. The Central Texas nonprofit serves children, adults and families who have experienced abuse.

“When your hair is like freshly cut or highlighted…you really just feel good and you exude that confidence,” Perez said. “Especially during a time of uncertainty for so many of these kids…what better thing can we get them?”

Perez is raising $3,000 for hair accessories, appointment costs with other licensed stylists and textured-hair supplies like bonnets and brushes so the children can continue to care for their hair. Any extra money raised will be used to purchase more hair products for SAFE Alliance.

“To know that there are children in care who don’t have the basics that they need for their hair, specifically, really just touched me and I was like, ‘I can do something about that,'” she said.

As a “one-woman show,” Perez and SAFE are looking for other stylists to help with about 30 kids’ on-site appointments on Aug. 4 and 5.

The project is an ongoing partnership between SAFE and Sonshine Braiding. Perez said she saw the project as a way to use her business and skills to help children in care, particularly with textured hair.

The nonprofit said other back-to-school needs are:

  • cute/cool backpacks and supplies for kids going into preschool, elementary, middle and high school
  • cute/cool back-to-school clothing and sneakers for students in prekindergarten to high school
  • H-E-B and Walmart gift cards to help families buy any items we can’t provide

These can be dropped off at 1515 Grove Blvd. in Austin.

Perez said she is already planning to make this an annual project.