Spectrum News | BN9
Salon owner teaches Polk jail inmates hair braiding and entrepreneurship
BY RICK ELMHORST | TAMPA
POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Alisha Hinton is taking her love of hair styling and entrepreneurship to the Polk County jail to help female inmates. Hinton owns her own salon on Harden Boulevard in Lakeland called Lisha Lou. She specializes in micro-loc braiding.
“They form a lock. And we maintain by interlocking. This is a very low-maintenance hairstyle,” she said as she worked on a customer’s hair. “I like to make people feel beautiful.”
Hinton is taking that passion for making women feel beautiful to a younger generation. She teaches hair braiding to teenagers during summer camps to inmates at the Polk County jail in Bartow.
During the courses for female inmates, Hinton doesn’t just focus on hair braiding but also on changing the way the inmates perceive themselves.
She spends lots of time writing down positive affirmation tips on a whiteboard and asking the inmates to tell her about good things happening in their lives, even though they are in jail.
She also teaches them about business skills.
“Teaching them about business, so that when they come home, if all else fails, they have something to go toward,” Hinton said. “It is a mindset about life because they have to build themselves up to do anything.”
Hinton said part of her inspiration to help women in jail came in the form of a strange dream she had where she was in jail.
“But I couldn’t figure out what I went to jail for,” she said. “But I knew I didn’t do anything bad.”
Hinton saw the dream as God-given.
“I knew it had to be a God thing. Prayed about. Wrote down my goals and just started reaching out to see how I could get here. And I’m here,” she shared.