Solution Overview

What is the name of your organization?

Curls on the Block

What is the name of your solution?

Camp Curly

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Camp Curly building confidence in curly, coily, afro wearing girls and bridging the gap beauty beauty and STEAM.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Research indicates, as early as five years old, children experience challenges with their hair which can negatively impact their ability to focus in school, manage healthy relationships with peers and affect their self-esteem. There continues to be an increase in adolescent self harm or suicide/suicidal ideation while the ages of these youth is getting younger and younger.

According to Dove research on self-esteem, “seven in 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with family and friends. Social media access and influence continues to impact body image with filters creating body and facial dysmorphia. Online bullying continues to negatively impact youth social interactions.

Compacting those general facts, an even more focused look, highlights the experiences youth of color navigate through. Studies show that Black youth are doubling the suspension and expulsion rates of their white peers, while also showing lower academic achievement rates in primary and secondary settings. This data reveals that there is an entirely different experience young girls of color are having daily at school and beyond. 

The academic environment for many participants is often not a positive reinforcement of their potential or learning needs. In fact, Brown v Board of Education used testimony from the Black Doll test with psychologists who identified that Black youth felt inferior to white peers. This test was administered by the Clarks, who were Black psychologists, who gave testimony for the winning argument that ultimately those separate but equal educational spaces were not constitutional based on the complex identity issues Black youth were experiencing.




What is your solution?

Camp Curly is an innovative program tailored for youth, ages six through sixteen, which embraces, explores and empowers young children to positively connect self-esteem and future S.T.E.A.M careers. The groundbreaking approach of Camp Curly is to center the experiences young, Black and curly children face.

Throughout the program, participants learn relevant cultural historical facts, identify how each session utilizes a S.T.E.A.M skill and reflect on how these elements impact their lives. Camp Curly engages participants by using culturally relevant experiences to move through self acceptance, provide safe spaces to explore STEAM career fields or beyond, and build positive social emotional skills.

By the culmination of programming, participants reflect on what they have learned, consider their own experiences in life, then apply critical thinking and problem solving to brainstorm an idea which addresses a gap or need in the curly community.  Whether a week-long intensive, after school 8-20 week program or monthly sessions, participants are preparing to present and participate in a final pitch presentation.

Each participant receives materials and tools to develop their own hair hygienic routine using supplies connected to the Curly Commandments, a workbook, Curls on the Block branded gear and Curly Cash redeemed at the Curly Store filled with age appropriate specialty prizes.

The Curly Store is an opportunity to reinforce the Curly Commandment values as well as basic community agreements.

Curly Cash is used as a sustainable ecosystem, connected to leadership, willingness to try the STEAM or beauty based activities, and personal growth and achievement. It is adaptable to be used as leverage in the academic setting if behavior concerns arise outside of Camp Curly or other incentives in classrooms are not working. It is sustainable as the tangible prizes or products are based on donations, bulk orders and availability.

Camp Curly is unique because it can be supported and allows participants to engage outside of the programming time by using their mobile devices to download the Curls on the Block App. This app has a variety of challenges to do at home, which can be used to earn Curly Cash. All participants get free access to the entire APP. The free function of the APP has a directory currently with more than 10 states listing curly hair specialists.


Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Camp Curly is an innovative program tailored for youth, ages six through sixteen, which embraces, explores and empowers young children to positively connect self-esteem and future S.T.E.A.M careers. The groundbreaking approach of Camp Curly is to center the experiences young, Black and curly children face.

Our participants bond through sharing their frustrations regarding their hair. Campers are safe to share, be free and are expected to follow the Curly Commandments which uplift others and build self esteem.

The Confidence Walk & CurlTalk is a time during the session where participants are encouraged to walk proudly and bring outside materials to share with the group.

Curly Cash is an incentive for participants to stay engaged, be able to be redirected and purchase items they may otherwise not be able to afford. Many participants share their inability to afford store brand items for healthy hair care maintenance. Curly Cash has been successfully leveraged in conjunction with school based incentive opportunities.

Campers are able to feel seen, understand themselves and try new activities that allow them to make their futures feel like a reality. 

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

During her work as an educator, Analise- the founder, realized that girls of color were often receiving extreme punishments, experiencing lower self esteem and essentially not having good self care starting as early as elementary school. Often, those issues were linked to their hair, not taking off a hoodie or bandana, being teased for a bad hair day and asking for basic supplies such as hair ties or hair gel.

As a curly girl herself, Analise grew up desiring to fit in and not be teased for having curly hair, Analise knew she could make an experience and space where curly girls thrived.

Camp Curly encourages youth participants and facilitators to incorporate their own personalities into the curriculum, thinking outside the box for ways to engage campers and let their curls be free during their time together. 

During training, volunteers and facilitators take the implicit bias test for race and skin tone, they also review the study done on curly hair preferences. They complete reflections on how bias may impact their engagement with campers, from their verbal and non verbal interactions as well as understanding the connotation of their diction. Facilitators also become mandated reporters and complete state requirements.

Facilitators must also complete core activities to become comfortable with the programming.There is also role playing to prepare for difficult conversations/questions campers typically engage in with questions about what is good hair, the Black doll test results, and identifying their own curl patterns.

Aminah Fard is a former participant and facilitator for Camp Curly now a college student ready to host Camp Curly in Atlanta.

Audrey Mitchell is creator and founder of Virgin Goddess Haircare Company, who is committed to bringing Camp Curly to Houston Texas. 

The Crown Coalition is a partner org, co-founded by Shemekka Ebony and Dr. Bernice Rumala who have supported legislative education and political action for the passing of The Crown Act in a number of states across the nation.

Sabriena Williams is former co-owner of Shay’s Beauty Supply for Natural Hair and partners with COTB to bring Colorado local youth to Camp Curly. She has also contributed to curriculum development and the Curly Commandment Kits beta launch.

Spirit Corley hosts virtual job shadowing opportunities & exploration using a platform supported by the state of Colorado.

Youth facilitators are often former participants themselves and bring in their own peers. 

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Support K-12 educators in effectively teaching and engaging girls in STEM in classroom or afterschool settings.

In what city and state is your solution team headquartered?

Aurora, CO, USA

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

From May 2022-June 2023 we have worked with over 250 participants. We have had 200 downloads on our app with minimal marketing. Our curly kits have been sold over 60 units.

Why are you applying to the Challenge?

Curls on the Block wants to create a self sustaining way to fund the programming and use the Curls on the Block App.

A comprehensive needs assessment to determine what resources and support are most appropriate in order to accelerate your impactAccess to a network of resource partners across industries and sectors

Recently, an entire business class at DU did project proposals identifying our SWOT as well as opportunities to enhance the COTB APP. We have implemented some of their suggestions to make our social media presence more relevant and create opportunities to sell our Kits and get app downloads. The app could use more specific support regarding development of STEAM based activities to be connected to curly hair needs. We need more representation of curly girls of all colors and textures so a broader network would help immensely.

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Analise Harris Goree

How is your Team Lead connected to the community or communities in which your project is based?

As a curly girl herself, Analise grew up desiring to fit in and not be teased for having curly hair, Analise knew she could make an experience and space where curly girls thrived.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

There are a number of ways Camp Curly could change the market,

  • the way we train facilitators (centering the Black and curly experience)
  • the curly cash ecosystem (teaching sustainability by product sharing and offering deserved praise and access to items otherwise a financial burden on families due to the high costs of quality products
  • the COTB APP (creating a community outside of class and programming, offering insight on demand about products typically used in haircare management, and finding curly stylists/salons in cities across the US)
  • the core curriculum (centering the Black and curly experience, intentionally connecting STEAM activities with beauty)
  • the pitch opportunities (encourages  participants to become a part of the effort to solve the problems they learn about from the curriculum)

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

In the next five years,

COTB Camp Curly will have scientific research results to accurately identify outcomes and impact of the curriculum. 

Camp Curly to sell the curriculum beyond the city and state programming.

The Curls on the Block APP will be a staple of curly girl use much like a detangling comb or satin bonnet.

Curly Kits will be sold in salons and stores with proceeds supporting more than 30-50% of the overall COTB budget.

Camp Curly will be established in 5 major cities and provide consistent programming all year.



How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

COTB Camp Curly will have scientific research results to accurately identify outcomes and impact of the curriculum: We strive to have quantitative and qualitative data to indicate effectiveness and need more support to connect curriculum activities, research and outcomes. Our likert scale based assessments and follow up interviews will want to follow youth over the course of multiple years of engagement with our curriculum.

Camp Curly is already trademarked and the workbook is copyright protected, allowing for the opportunity to sell the curriculum beyond the city and state programming.

The Curls on the Block APP will be a staple of curly girl use much like a detangling comb or satin bonnet: continuing to invest in the development of tutorials and possibly gamify the app experience

Curly Kits will be sold in salons and stores with proceeds supporting more than 30-50% of the overall COTB budget: we continue to connect with salons and stylists who agree that youth hair education is important--they offer their spaces for programming and selling products

Camp Curly will be established in 5 major cities and provide consistent programming all year: our board is committed to the expansion and we continue to reach out to educators or former participants to support the implementation.



Describe in simple terms how and why you expect your solution to have an impact on the problem.

Regarding our most recent summer camp in Colorado: 

Camp Curly Colorado was one week of summer programming from 8AM-4:30PM with 46 youth ages 6-16. There were five junior facilitators ages 16-19, our end of session surveys calculated two important data points.

1. Over 92% of participants said they would like to continue to do more programming.

2. The majority of participants were 2nd, 6th and 7th graders with 20 participants between 12-15.

Our program results have led to 90% of youth queens (when we were doing the pageant) successfully starting their own companies before the age of 19. 


If your solution is tech-based, describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Though we're not tech BASED, we are looking to create better links between the use of our App and the curriculum.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process that relies on technology to be successful

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Internet of Things
  • Materials Science
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which US states does your solution currently operate?

ALL

In which US states will your solution be operating within the next year?

CA, CO, DC, GA

Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

Currently, Analise works on Curls on the Block as a passion and uses support of volunteers and the board to facilitate programming.

How long have you been working on your solution?

Curls on the Block began in 2016, became a non profit in 2017 and has flourished every year since.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

The founder, Analise, is a multi-ethnic woman. Curls on the Block began because of the absence of inclusive efforts for Black and curly children. Throughout the trainings of facilitators and volunteers and programming, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

Solution Team

 
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