By Suzanne Schmidt
Melissa Rivera, owner of E.M.E.R.G.E. Hair Studio in Lutz, invited teens to become empowered while also checking out the latest hairstyles and makeup during teen night April 26.
Rivera said she wanted to have the event to show teen girls they do not have to put up with violence.
“I wanted to do a fashion show for prom, but at the same time empower the teenagers,” Rivera said. “There is so much going on right now like with Chris Brown and Rihanna. So many kids are getting caught in relationships where they are getting abused, that they think it is normal. Kids need to learn they don’t need that.”
Rivera recently opened E.M.E.R.G.E., which stands for Every Moment Energize Realize Genuine Elegance. The salon, 24720 SR 54, offers cuts, color, Brazilian keratin treatments, facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures.
The salon also offers the new OPI Axxium gel polish that according to Rivera will stay on nails for up to two weeks without chipping.
At the “Alice in Wonderland” themed event, representatives from the Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Pregnancy Center, The Spring of Tampa Bay, Shapes and Krav Maga Martial Arts school attended the event to let teens know about their services.
Lauren Jones, youth coordinator at The Spring, said she was happy to share important information with teens such as letting them know about the national teen dating abuse hotline at (866) 331-9474. She said one in three teens will experience dating violence with physical, mental, verbal or sexual abuse. For more information, visit www.loveisrespect.org.
“I want to reach the teens about teen dating violence,” Jones said. “It is very prevalent which is why I try to get out to talk to teens as much as possible. It is almost accepted as normal.”
Land O’ Lakes residents Patsy Bly and her daughter Mary Bly, 17, were talking to teens about the Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Pregnancy Center. Mary Bly was hoping to recruit teens to help her form a teen advisory board at the pregnancy center where she volunteers while her mom was letting teens know about the services available.
“We are here to let teens know the center is here ready to let girls know about their rights and options,” Patsy Bly said. “They can help with diapers and formula and with making better choices. There is also a library of learning materials where parents can go and teach their sons and daughters.”
Missy Johnson of New Tampa attended the event to watch her daughter, Shaniqua, walk the runway. She said the event was a good idea.
“These kids are dealing with a lot of issues I didn’t have,” Johnson said. “Like teen pregnancy now is a fad, when I grew up it was something you kept a secret and they are also dealing with domestic violence and drugs. Anything that empowers them and builds their self-confidence is great. I always tell my girls to be a leader not a follower.”
Stephen Del Castillo, owner of Krav Maga Martial Arts, let people know about the youth and teen programs he offers including his bullying program.
“Violence could happen to anyone at any time,” Castillo said. “If you don’t know what to do if you are attacked, then you should take classes.”
Through the “Alice in Wonderland” themed fashion show, Rivera and her staff were able to show off their hair and makeup skills. Roxanne Null, 16, of Land O’ Lakes was Alice at the event.
“It was exciting to get made up and feel special,” Null said. “I like the hair and makeup. It was very creative.”
For more information, visit the studio on Facebook or call (813) 948-9668.
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