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Here’s a look at how some Sola Salons stylists are giving back. We hope this list inspires you to get involved with your local community, too — And, if you do, we want to hear about it: Share your story or post a picture, and don’t forget to tag #solasalons.

Do what you do best.

Former accountant Eric Rico, owner of Accounting Cuts by Eric Rico, uses his natural talents to make sure houseless individuals and refugees in Albuquerque look good year-round. Bi-monthly, Eric spends the day giving free cuts at a local shelter and a refugee center, through his church and Catholic Charities, respectively.

“Because I’m currently the only one who does women’s hair [at the shelter], sometimes I’ll do ten haircuts in three hours,” says Eric. That’s just fine, though — Eric always welcomes the opportunity to hone his craft. “This helps me with my skills, and it helps me learn to be more efficient while giving them the best I can give them,” Eric adds, offering a little advice to other stylists: “Opportunities aren’t just going to come to you; you have to go out and seek them.”

Holly Santelli found her opportunity to lend a hand – and some scissors! – four years ago, and she’s been donating cuts to adults with special needs ever since. “I think when you give your time rather than your money it is a little more meaningful,” Holly says. “As stylists,” she continues, “We have the perfect opportunity to give with our talents, and we make such an impact doing what we do. A lot of us don’t realize it.”

When she isn’t running Serendipity Beauty Parlour at Sola Salons Park Ridge, Holly heads to Avenues To Independence on the last Wednesday of the month, and spends a few hours behind the chair. “There are several homes in the area,” Holly says, “And, some residents will walk to the location I’m at just to get cuts.” Holly usually brings music and snacks to share with her customers, and lately she’s recruited other Sola owners, too, asking fellow salon owners to help her collect needed items – bed linens and kitchenware, for example – over the holiday season.

Start a drive.

Sometimes, volunteering is as easy as setting up a visible, conveniently located bin, and asking folks to contribute a specific item. Traci Stanley has been giving to a different charity every month since opening Extension Boutique at Sola Salons Hamilton Corners in August. When one of her clients – a nurse at a local nursing home – mentioned that her patients needed socks, Traci jumped at the opportunity to run a sock drive during the month of November. Traci’s clients and co-workers are gladly chipping in, donating socks that will ultimately be used in holiday baskets for nursing home residents.

In Boston, hairstylist and makeup artist Kiara Mooney launched a canned food drive. “Everyone is participating, and we’re getting so many donations,” says Kiara, noting that even her clients have contributed. When building manager Pramod Yaday put a sign out front, that brought more visibility to Kiara’s campaign, and got other owners’ customers involved, too.

This is Kiara’s first year running Sola Salons Reading’s canned food drive. She opened KM HMUA last April, and knew immediately that she wanted to give back to her hometown. “I’m from a big Italian family, and around the holidays we are always surrounded by two things: family and food. I figured everyone should be surrounded by the same,” she says. Kiara picked a local food bank, and is planning to “fill a few boxes, and drop them off,” she says. “Most towns,” continues Kiara, “have food pantries, and they keep lists online of the stuff they need.”

Adopt a family.

One of the most unique philanthropic ideas comes from Karen Moreno, owner of Obsidian Hair and Nail Salon at Sola Salons Tucson. Every year, Karen adopts a family for the holidays, and this year she’s gotten her entire salon involved through a local organization, the Parent Aid Child Abuse Prevention Center.  

“I asked a lot of people at Sola to get involved, and they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it,’” Karen explains. After reaching out to Parent Aid, Karen was assigned a family, and received a list of their wishes — mostly needed items such as clothing and food. “And, we’re throwing in toys for the kids, and something special for the parents,” Karen adds.

Karen distributed the list to fellow salon owners, and once all of the items are in she’ll deliver them herself to the family she’s bolstering. In the past, it’s been the delivery that’s made the whole operation worth it for Karen: “They’re so appreciative; it is so moving,” she says.

Her advice for would-be philanthropists is to, “Look for an organization that speaks to you.” Karen also recommends connecting with a place that gives money and goods directly to its constituents — That way, you’ll know all of your dollars are doing good.

Go to camp.  

Fresco Hair Design owner Dina Dattilio loves summer camp so much that she’s taken on a strategic level position at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a Vermont-based, year-round camp for children ages 7 to 17 who currently have or have had cancer.

Dina’s been with Sola Salons Williston for a little over four years, and she’s been volunteering with Camp Ta-Kum-Ta for twice that long. Her first year at camp, Dina rolled up her sleeves and worked in the kitchen! Since then, she’s served on the Board of Directors, and is currently the organization’s Volunteer Program Director, which means she gets to “plan the fun.”

“Camp is magic,” Dina says, adding, “When you see these kids come off of the bus – so excited, and some so nervous…. It’s a chance for these kids to check their illnesses at the gate, and come and play and just be a kid.” Dina loves witnessing the bonding that happens between campers, and “the sparkle in their eyes,” she says.

 
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