Date: June 19, 2009
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director, Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, email@example.com
PNC Director of Student Activities Donates to Locks of Love
WESTVILLE – Purdue University North Central Director of Student Activities Keri Marrs Barron recently cut her hair. That's usually not such a big deal, but she ended up having more than 12 inches of hair cut off. That hair was donated to the Locks of Love organization and will end up being made into wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness.
“I've been thinking about donating my hair,” said Marrs Barron. She became aware of the organization two years ago at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Local beauticians were there cutting hair to be donated to Locks of Love, but at the time her hair wasn't long enough. But donating her locks was always in the back of her mind.
A few weeks ago someone mentioned the organization again. Marrs Barron looked in the mirror. “It was time for a change. I needed a haircut,” she said.
So she got her hair cut. Because her hair had been in layers, her beautician was able to separate it to get three separate sections of long hair to donate to potentially make three wigs, a fact that pleased Marrs Barron.
“If something as simple as donating my hair can help someone, then I'm happy to do it,” she said.
With a donation of hair to Locks for Love, Marrs Barron's hairdresser will perform a cut, blow dry and style for $20 at Salon Cilla with Melissa at 219-879-4728 in Michigan City .
Marrs Barron has a long history of helping others. She credits her mother with instilling her with the spirit of giving. She recalls her first major endeavor – running a marathon for the Leukemia Society of America in 1998. She raised $3,200.
But her biggest undertaking at Purdue North Central was organizing a trip to Tutwiler , Miss. , building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Marrs Barron wanted to do something to help. “I didn't have much money to contribute, but I could give my time and energy to help,” she explained. She contacted Habitat for Humanity thinking that she could organize a group of students to travel to the New Orleans area to help the hurricane victims. While Habitat for Humanity needed trained volunteers, they suggested the PNC volunteers travel to Tutwiler, an impoverished town desperately in need of help. Habitat for Humanity had several projects under way and help was needed.
Marrs Barron jumped in. She gathered 13 students who raised their own money for their trip expenses and gave up their winter break from classes to drive to Mississippi . The trip was so successful that Marrs Barron and the students returned twice to build Habitat homes in Tutwiler with even more students.
Back at PNC, Marrs Barron, along with students, staff and faculty, have been involved with the Relay for Life for three years, the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk for two years, they've taken the Plunge for a Cure for three years, helped organize a 5K run on campus to raise money for scholarships, worked with the Martin Luther King Jr., Celebration Breakfast on campus each year and will volunteer with the upcoming United Way Regional Day of Caring on Aug. 28 and 29. Plus, it is common to see PNC involved with an array of food drives, fundraising efforts and community service volunteer work for organizations throughout LaPorte and Porter counties.
Off campus Marrs Barron volunteers with the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days, helps out at First Church of God in LaPorte and at Hailmann School in LaPorte. Marrs Barron, her husband, son and two step- sons regularly volunteer, too.
“Volunteering, helping others when I can is what I do,” she said. “I have instilled that in my children, and I want our PNC students to know how much they can help those around them through simple acts,” said Marrs Barron.