School bus driver lets students color his hair for a cause
Bruce Norton describes himself as a pretty conservative guy.
So, getting his hair dyed with combination of bluish and purplish hues would be one of the last things the part-time school bus driver would do.
Yet Norton did it just that Friday to bring attention to his cause and to bring awareness to what he sees as a growing problem.
He is the chairman and CEO of Families Renewed, a nonprofit created in 2013 to help children and families in crisis. The hair-dying event was done live on TikTok at Hair Mechanix in Delta to not only bring attention to his organization during Give Local York's day of giving on Friday, but to also bring attention to the growing suicide and self-harm epidemic among teens and young adults.
"It started off as basically a challenge to get my students involved and bring about a little more awareness about mental health and what we're doing to prevent suicide and self harm," Norton said. "It kind of grew into its own little thing there and we got close enough to meeting our goal in the challenge that with Give Local York coming up and with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, (Friday) would be the perfect day to pull the trigger on it."
Norton drives a bus part time for the York County School of Technology. He noticed some of the students would change their hair color on occasion, which inspired him to do the event. He approached a couple of students who were training in cosmetology about doing the dye job.
"They're not complete neophytes to the idea (of coloring hair)," Norton said. "The one that I chose works at Hair Mechanix."
The colors chosen were pre-selected via a poll taken among Norton's followers on TikTok, YouTube and other social media platforms to pick what hue or hues would be used on his head.
"There were basically three groups of colors," Norton said. "Two of the groups were more popular than the third."
The one that won barely edged out the other most popular, he said.
Norton said he hopes having some funny colored hair for a while will help him spread awareness about suicide and self harm among teens and young adults.
"As you know, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 10-to-24 age group. Also in that age group, 60% — this was before COVID, and we know things have gotten worse since COVID — teens and young adults in that age group engaged in self harm at least once," he said. "And 83% of those that engaged in self harm at least once engaged in self harm on a regular and continuing basis."
To find out more about Families Renewed and their services, go to familiesrenewed.org.
— Reach Anthony Maenza at email@example.com or @atmaenza on Twitter.