Back to School and Looking Good – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The Medford School District will host a holiday party for students and their families on Wednesday

Tara Short, owner of Short Kutz Hair and Salon, cuts Nate Short’s hair Thursday in Medford. Short and her staff will be offering free haircuts from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Jackson Elementary School, 713 Summit Ave., Medford, as part of the Healthy Start Block Party. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]

Waiting on a couch Thursday at Short’s Kitchen in downtown Medford, Nate Short didn’t have long to wait his turn in the barber’s chair, where his mom, Tara Short, took out a clipper to trim his long, curly brown locks.

The reason behind the fancy new outfit was to help the North Medford High School sophomore look his best before Aug. 29, the first day of school.

“I’ve been using ‘look good, feel good, play good’ — that’s been my whole life,” Nate said.

While he admits that starting a new school year can be intimidating, a new hairstyle definitely helps the situation.

“If you look better than usual, you feel better than usual,” Nate said.

Last week, Nate was just one of several customers getting a haircut at the downtown barbershop from his mom, who will be cutting students’ hair from 3 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Jackson Elementary School, 713 Summit Ave. , Medford.

It’s all part of the Healthy Start Block Party, a partnership between the Medford School District, Jackson Care Connect and more than 30 other community organizations.

While the district is helping to organize the event, it will not limit attendance to Medford School District families.

“At Medford School District, we share a vision of everyone learning and learning for everyone,” said Natalie Hurd, the district’s director of communications and community engagement. “We know that students learn best when they come to us prepared for the day.”

Hurd noted that Jackson Care Connect actually reached out to the county and offered to host the party, which Samantha Watson, JCC health manager, confirmed.

“We wanted to create an event to help families meet many of their health needs in one place,” she said. “So we reached out to (the) Medford School District to see if they might be interested in partnering in a school event where we could provide these services for people and bring in community partners to help connect people to resources and information “.

The event will include “child health checks”, dental examinations, haircuts and more.

“We know that parents or guardians can often work late into the day or have non-traditional jobs, so we just felt it was really important to provide some time where they could just access all of these services in one place,” said Watson. “It really saves people time.”

Haircuts, in particular, are an important part of preparing for a new school and can be out of reach for many local families, she added.

Tara Short, who has been a licensed stylist for seven years, said her desire to take part in next week’s event stems from the fact that she was homeless when she was younger and couldn’t afford things like haircuts.

“Now that I’m an adult and have the ability to give back, I love it,” Short said. “I don’t think it’s worth making a lot of money if you’re not willing to give back what you started – and I started with nothing.”

She added that Short Kutz employees will be on hand Wednesday to cut children’s hair, part of a year-long pledge her employees are making to give back to their community.

But not only Short Cuts will be featured at the block party. Other organizations include Rogue Community Health, La Clinica, Medford Police Department, Jackson County Library Services, Rogue Valley Family YMCA and Rogue Valley Transportation District.

The Medford School District and Jackson Care Connect also aim to make the event fun — living up to the name “block party.” Snoball Donuts, CABA Empanadas and Sultan’s Delight are expected to be among the food truck attendees. Students will also have the opportunity to play games and win prizes.

“We think we want to attract families,” Herd said. “Everyone loves our local food trucks, so there are some interesting things.”

Watson, who has two children, acknowledged that the first day of school is an exciting time, but also stressful, not only for students, but also for parents and guardians.

“That first day can be a bit scary — it’s a change for people; this is something completely new,” she said. “We want to give kids and their families the best possible start, so they don’t have to worry about whether their hair is cut or not, whether they have everything they need to succeed.”

Contact reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.

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