Some people struggle with how they deal with hair, health and beauty problems. Three Montevallo students have created an organization where everyone can be themselves and have a great support system.

This past summer, Gabrielle Pringle, Alexandria Cottrell and Darion Smyly came together to create The BOND. It stands for “the beauty of natural decisions.” Pringle is the group’s president, and she thought of this idea because she felt people who were going through hard times with their hair needed a place to go for help.

Her support system was Cottrell, the group’s vice president, who assisted her when she decided to cut her hair and go natural.

The term “natural” has many different meanings, but in this case it is hair that is not processed and in its natural state. They each had a talk with Smyly, the group’s creative director, and she was on board with the idea.

The group’s purpose is to empower students and people of the community about their natural beauty with health, hair and beauty tips that will give them a boost of confidence and learn to love themselves for who they are.

The goal of this group is to uplift each other through difficult times by being supportive of one another, not to tear each other down. The group is minority-based, but it is open to men and women of any ethnicity.

Initially there was a misconception of The BOND being a natural hair group because of the picture on the interest meeting poster.

“We are not natural hair Nazis,” said Smyly. The group is open to all, no matter if their hair is colored, relaxed or highlighted.

According to Pringle, they talked to Cedric Norman in student life about their idea. “He said it was good because he thinks it’s something that should be on campus, and he really supported it,” said Pringle.

Next, they made sure they went through the proper arrangements to get The BOND started. The first thing they had to do was find an advisor–Erica Tabb, who works in Student Support Services. Next, they had to create a constitution, bylaws and a purpose.

Afterward, they filled out paperwork and had an interest meeting on Sept. 9. There were over 40 people at the interest meeting.

“I was really impressed by the number of people who showed up,” said Tabb. They were even more surprised to see males and faculty members.

In order to join The BOND, new members must fill out an application with basic information and pay a yearly fee of $10.

“If you are unable to pay it all at once, talk to one of the officers or Ms. Tabb and we’ll help you out,” said Cottrell. The fee helps pay for tokens of gratitude for speakers, refreshments or other things the group may need.

One thing the officers hope to accomplish with men in the group is an understanding of the process women go through with their hair. Men will also receive help with their hair and skin problems. “I’m sure they can teach us something,” said Cottrell.

Not only does The BOND focus on hair, it also places emphasis on health and beauty.

The group also plans to have various workshops to help students, faculty and people in the community get healthy in all areas. One of its possible workshops is a make-up tutorial, and another will be about healthy living and ways to keep your skin clear. They are also open to planned trips to the SAC for workouts.

The BOND is currently available to the public, but for now the only way to spread the news is by word of mouth and flyers.

As time goes on, they may be able to create social media pages, depending on how well the group goes in its probationary period. If they are successful, they will be an official organization of the university in two years.