Waukesha STEM students add blue hair extensions for autism

WAUKESHA --Students at Waukesha STEM Academy are turning heads for turning their hair blue. Students and staff are getting blue hair extensions in support of Autism Awareness Month.

"I just felt like it would be fun to get because obviously, it's something fun for a girl to get, and then it's also doing something for a good cause," sixth-grader Grace Dargiewicz said.

All of the proceeds from the event will go to Good Friend Inc, an organization that teaches students about autism. Denise Schamens started the organization with a friend after her son was diagnosed with autism. "By educating everyone on autism, they're able to connect really well with their peers with autism, and we see immediate results. It's a really great thing and it's really powerful," Schamens said.

Salon Brillare was on hand to add blue hair extensions, feathers or bling strings to the hair of students and staff. Salon Brillare owner Janet Damato says a "bling string" is sparkely tinsel, offered in blue and green.

Droves of kids showed up to lend a hand while adding a little color to their hair, including sixth-grader Elizabeth Silveira who donated all of her birthday money. "I got $25 and I kind of wanted to do this because my little brother has Down Syndrome, so it's kind of like autism. I thought this was really cool and it would be a good cause," Silveira said.

"We have a lot of kids with special needs, and we always try to support not only them, but their families," Waukesha STEM Academy teacher Beth Wartzenluft said.

As one in 88 children now have autism, countless people are impacted by this disorder, but Good Friend Inc. hopes to stop the stereotypes and bullying and instead build friendships.

Salon Brillare will continue providing blue hair extensions for autism awareness through the end of April. All of the proceeds will be donated to Good Friend Inc.

For more information, call 262-522-2914.