When places started shutting down as a result of covid in March of last year, the Baltz family worked to come up with unique ways to make that time fun for their kids.
Lesli Baltz wanted to create funny, unique memories for her two kids, twins Allan and Alice, 11, so that they could remember those memories, instead of what might otherwise be scary memories for them, she said.
First, the Jonesboro family all took on unique hairstyles: mom dyed her hair red, Alice dyed her hair teal, dad, Derek got a mustache and Allan, cut his hair into a mullet.
Lesli thought Allan might try a mohawk, rat tails, then shave his hair and let it grow back before school started in August.
But to her surprise, Allan loved it and did not want any other hairstyle.
The mullet was here to stay.
Now, Allan is in the running to win $2,500 for his hairstyle in the 2021 USA Mullet Championships.
If he wins, Allan intends to donate the prize money to Project Zero and Together We Foster, two organizations that assist children in foster care.
Allan said he liked the mullet right off the bat, because his sister was embarrassed.
“I feel like he really is rocking it. I can’t see him without the mullet anymore. It matches his personality," Alice said.
Allan and his sister were adopted by the Baltz family out of foster care when they were 4 years old, he wants to help children that are in the same situation he was once in, said his former teacher Carol Harral.
“Allan doesn’t care what other kids think. He is who he is,” Harral said. “It was not a problem in the classroom as far as drawing negative attention, they just accepted Allan for who he is,” she added.
“He doesn’t care about attention or fame or anything like that,” Harral said. “He just wants to help kids who are in the situation he was in. He’s out now and has a great life … It wouldn’t matter if it was $10,000, he would not bat an eye about giving that,” she said of Allan wanting to donate the money.
The family initially heard about the contest when their friends tagged them in posts about it.
When Lesli brought the idea to Allan, he said no, because he didn’t think he could beat the kid who was first in the rankings at the time.
Then 10-15 people had tagged Lesli in the same post, and she saw there was a cash reward.
She told Allan, and he said if he won, he would give the money to kids in foster care.
“I was impressed with his heart,” she said.
She let him pick his outfit for the contest photo, and Allan picked a suit, to stand out from the other entries, and mountain bike glasses, another quarantine hobby the family got into, as a “finishing touch” for the photograph.
This isn’t the first time Allan has done something to give back to children in foster care, his mom said.
For the twins 8th and 9th birthdays, they were going to have both of their classes to celebrate their birthday.
Their mom discussed how they wanted to approach gifts for the party, and the kids both agreed they wanted to give back to foster children.
Lesli reached out to organizations and found the greatest need and what the organizations go through the fastest was diapers and baby wipes.
So for the party, the kids asked their friends to bring either diapers or baby wipes, in lieu of a gift for them, Lesli said.
“They are good-hearted kids,” she said.
Lesli said the kids remember their life before they were with them.
“I was in foster care, so I pretty much know how it feels to be without a family," Allan said.
He added his family is "encouraging and really great at snuggling."
The Baltz family home is still open for foster care, as they do respite care, which provides foster families with a temporary break from care.
“It’s a situation they see is still a need,” she said. “They care very deeply about it. They would give them [the foster children] everything in their rooms, if we would let them.”
The twins came to the Baltz family when they were 4 years old, and Lesli described the first few months as hard, because their speech was poor, and people couldn’t always understand what they were trying to say.
Since then, she said, foster care and adoption is an open conversation in their home.
“They like to talk about it. They’re proud of it,” she said.
After the contest, Allan said he plans to keep the mullet.
"Nobody's going to get near that,” he said.
Voting is open until 10:59 p.m. Central Monday and can be done at mulletchamp.com/2021-kids-division-voting/.