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Family buzz cuts for charity

A mother and son had their hair chopped off outside of the Pathways Kelowna building at 555 Fuller Ave Saturday afternoon.

The rain held off and the sun shined as Rita and Marco Romei donated their locks to Wigs for Kids and raised money for the Cool Arts Society. Part of the cash is going towards a new digital media program Cool Arts is aiming to start in the Fall.

Cool Arts is a registered charity that provides opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, to "make art, to take classes and learn, to be in a supportive fine arts environment, to exhibit or perform, to be part of the larger arts community," according to their website.

Rebecca Reynolds of Cream Salon in Kelowna donated her time to do the cutting.

The Romeis were inspired by Shameera Rosal, 17, who is a cousin to Marco and niece to Rita. 

Rita said she's had this plan in mind for about a year. She has donated her hair before and this future wig has been growing for about four years. 

It took some time for Marco to come around, but he also took the plunge and went nearly to the bone.

"At first he just wanted to cut the eight inches off that they require for Wigs for Kids," she said. "Then his soccer coach from last year said he would donate a contract if he went even shorter - then it turned into a buzz cut."

Rosal is planning on joining Cool Arts when she has some time in her schedule.

"I'm more focused on the clay and working with my hands," said Rosal. Although she is beginning to toy around with taking some pictures and using a computer.

Shameera's mother Assunta said they had raised more than $1,600 including some pledges that were donated today. They are hopeful the donations will continue to roll in. 

Rena Warren, executive director of Cool Arts said the program is meant for adults and was founded about 10 years ago to fill a gap in services and programs in Kelowna. 

Now they have about 60 members and hope to keep growing. 

Cool Arts recently received some provincial funding to buy some computers to kick start the digital media program to offer another avenue of expression for their members. 

The program already includes clay art, music, poetry and dancing - some of which will be performed at the Rotary Centre on Thursday. 

If you would like more information on programs or to make a donation visit their website http://www.coolarts.ca/

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