Besides providing haircuts, the group is also collecting school supplies for students before the first day of school.

Kiley Mae is 9 years old and heading into the third grade. Her home was devastated by Hurricane Irma and she’s been living in an RV since September. Driving back into the Keys after the storm sparked fire in her heart and she’s been an activist for Kids of the Florida Keys ever since, even starting a nonprofit with that name with her mom Kim.

Kiley Mae’s evenings lately have been spent cataloging and organizing the donations rolling in for the cut-a-thon, a free haircutting event taking place Aug. 11 in Marathon at Sea Level Spa and at 24 North in Key West. Notebooks, backpacks, pencils, shoes: the list goes on for the needs of students heading back to school on Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Setting up a meeting with Key West Mayor Craig Cates, she brought up beach cleanups and the needs of students and teachers heading into the 2018-2019 school year. “The meeting has been the highlight of this,” she said, in addition to helping so many local children. But, Kiley Mae’s list had a lot of gaps to fill for the kids signed up for the cut-a-thon. “He called Mr. John (Dick) immediately and Mr. John called the American Legion and they are going to help with all the supplies we still need.”

“People are really stepping up for these kids,” said mom Kim Arencibia. The nonprofit collected dresses from students last year, from everything from homecoming and prom, to moving-up ceremonies and graduations. “A spotlight really needs to be shined on those who have donated and those who are taking the day off to help the kids out.”

Arencibia explained the devastation those like D.J.s, wedding photographers, and of course, stylists and makeup artists endured after the storm. “That industry took a direct hit; they don’t do hair and makeup and nails when there is a hurricane,” she said. “They are all truly angels.”

To make an appointment in Marathon, call 305-916-0919. Appointments are required, and the stylists ask that kids come with freshly washed, still damp hair to make the lines move faster. Food for Thought is catering the event, and Sea Level Spa blocked the entire day off for the kids from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In Key West, the free haircutting for students takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with 13 local stylists, DJ Gunz spinning beats (think more “dabs” and “kekes”) and Karrie Porter Photography will be documenting the day. Appointments are required, and the stylists ask that kids come with freshly washed, still damp hair to make the lines move faster. To make an appointment, call 305-879-6723. Stylists include Kandie Santana, Kelly Castellanos, Lorri Bolander, Amber Blazek, Stevie Chiles, Rachel Conley, Debra Kleinman, Wendy Allen, Jaime Laino, Carie Charest, Heather Moore Grayson, Veronica, and Patty Ann.

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