LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — A Kansas City nonprofit is teaming up with a Lee’s Summit salon to donate wigs to homicide victims.
Thanks to the donations, women who suffered violent head trauma can be laid to rest, looking how their families remember them.
Aisha Ogletree, who owns The Annex by AO Salon, also services funeral homes where she recreates hair for the deceased. A light went off for Ogletree when realized she could do something to help in a world of violence.
“That’s the last time you`re going to see your loved one, so if you don`t recognize them, how does it feel?” Ogletree said.
She’s now making wigs for the Sleeping Beauty Eternity Wig Program, part of the Healing Pathway Victim Service Agency.
“We have some victims who have passed away under violent circumstances and have significant head trauma,” Healing Pathway founder Monica Roberts said.
Ogletree’s work is somber. She starts in the funeral home. She meets with victims’ families, looks over photos and takes measurements to make the perfect unit.
“It makes me sad obviously when you start to get to know some of the families. It’s like, wow, you know this could me be next,” Ogletree said. “I just get a joy out of helping people, period. So the fact that that’s an option for me how to do that and and teach other people that this is a need for the community that is overlooked, I think that is awesome.”
Roberts said Ogletree’s wig donations make a big difference for families grieving over a homicide.
“It’s not natural, and families are often left without closure because there are so many unknowns and so many things that have not been answered,” Roberts said. “We do our best to help families get closure as best as we can. I don’t know that it brings about full closure, but it relieves the stress or that the family is feeling at the time of the funeral service.”
The salon also helps children get ready by doing their hair before their parent’s funerals.
Ogletree and her team of stylists sometimes put their own money into hair for the wigs. They accept hair donations from other salons as well.