foster care alumni change the narrative
It all started when…
In 2014 co-founders Vanessa Morrison and Bruce Waight started plans to address the obstacles and barriers that many youth of color face when it comes to their ethnic hair and skin care needs in foster and adoptive care. After years of volunteering, planning, and advocating on behalf of these issues, in 2016 they launched Cut it Forward and began to serve various communities through hair care services under this initiative. Others joined their efforts in 2018 and together they activated as a 501 (c)3 to address these culturally specific, underserved needs on a larger scale.
As an organization representative of people with lived experience, many foster care alumni members of Cut it Forward know about these need all too well after growing up and aging out of the system directly. Many members began advocating on behalf of ethnic hair and skin care needs as early as 15 years old while they were still in foster care by speaking on panels, at conferences, and various events.
“Youth of color oftentimes enter foster and adoptive systems with their culturally specific, hair and skin care needs unmet.” Morrison explained. “This isolating gap can be detrimental to a youth’s self-image, confidence, a barrier in cultural bonding, and more. Through education and support, these issues can easily be mitigated and families more holistically supported.” Morrison stated.
With an intention to create accessible and sustainable ethnic hair and skin care resources, Cut it Forward has become a resource to families not only in Oklahoma but both nationally and internationally.