With back to school season just around the corner, now’s a great time for parents and kids alike to brush-up on their knowledge of those burdensome, little bugs that can make life anything but charming. Lice, bugs, nits… whatever you call them, they’re an uncomfortable nuisance that not only disrupts things at home but can have various negative social impacts due to stigma and lack of education.
On Thursday, September 17, Lice Squad will be donating the day’s entire net service revenues to the Children’s Aid Foundation.
It was for this exact reason that Dawn Mucci founded Lice Squad, a multi-service lice treatment organization that offers education and resources to kids and their families who are struggling to find safe and adequate lice treatment. Launched in 2001, the company has been steadily growing and now operates from coast-to-coast. But, the company wanted to further expand their impact by ensuring that a portion of their revenues went into other community programs supporting kids in need. Thus, through an incredibly generous initiative, Lice Squad began giving one dollar of each kit sold back to the Children’s Aid Foundation, and on Thursday, September 17 — in honour of Head Lice Awareness Day — Lice Squad will be donating the day’s entire net service revenues to the Foundation. Talk about making a difference!
In preparation of the big day, the Foundation had an opportunity to chat with the company’s founder to learn more about how it works and why the Children’s Aid Foundation is so near and dear to the organization’s heart. Read it below.
Children’s Aid Foundation: How did Lice Squad begin?
Dawn Mucci: Lice Squad started back in 2001. I was a parent on assistance at the time and got head lice from my oldest son. When looking for help, there really wasn’t anything available, so naturally as an entrepreneur I thought ‘here’s a niche in the market’, and I thought ‘this is something I can do to help myself and other people’ – I saw the need. I also understood the need because as a child, I got lice quite a bit. I was teased and ostracized because of it. My father was a single father raising me and I was subject to overuse of pesticides. My dad had this little comb and would try and comb my hair, which was very uncomfortable and a traumatic experience for me. So, I started the company, went out and did market research, and formulated the business.
CAF: How has Lice Squad grown since it was founded?
DM: We’re an award-winning, full service franchise company from coast-to-coast. We’ve won the top franchise award in Canada, we have 22 areas that we operate in and franchise the concept, so it’s something that’s in many communities. We offer services, we offer products for do-it-yourself-ers, and we offer free head lice diagnosis and educational videos. We’re offering to educate people and give them diagnostic tools and things of that nature.
CAF: How do other stresses, like poverty, amplify issues like head lice?
DM: Lice is not a poverty issue; lice is a human issue that effects everybody of every economic status. The problem with lice affecting someone who is already compromised in a situation where there could be neglect, abuse or poverty, it’s just an added stress that can throw them over the top. So, seeing that and recognizing there was an opportunity to help families in that capacity, I felt that just aligned with what we do as a business. Our whole mission it to stop stigma associated with head lice and to stop the overuse and abuse of pesticides on children and the environment, and second to that we’re really focused on healthy children, families, and the environment.
“I was helped by the Foundation as a young child. I was taken into care until I could be placed back with my parent, so I value what the agency does to help families and children stay together, and most importantly to help them have a healthy family life.”
CAF: How did Lice Squad get involved with supporting the Foundation?
DM: I was helped by the Foundation as a young child. I was taken into care until I could be placed back with my parent, so I value what the agency does to help families and children stay together, and most importantly to help them have a healthy family life. During the course of my business, I worked a lot in homes in which I saw that lice was an issue on top of other underlying issues that were quite hard for families.
CAF: Can you chat about the upcoming day you have planned in support of the Foundation?
DM: Head Lice Awareness Day is a day that we put on that focuses on the breaking of stigma and reduction of pesticide use. This year, we thought to do something that gives-back to CAF, and I thought ‘I’m going to propose to my system that we give-up an entire day’s revenue, system wide, for the Foundation as part of that day to bring awareness to the need of the Foundation’. The Foundation obviously has exposure and just to make a statement that this is [the organization] that we support is great. We decided not to just give the revenue from that particular day, we decided to look at a whole week leading up to to that day, and whichever day has the highest revenue is the day we will donate. And we don’t know what that’s going to look like, but it’s a busy time of year. And then the other thing is that there is a dollar given [to CAF] from every kit that we sell, that was something we wanted to do ongoing and on an annual basis.