Sunday, June 9, 2019

A Culture of Giving Back

When Maria Fessia decided to pursue a second career in barbering, she learned more than just cutting hair. The barber school she attended instilled “a culture of giving back,” she said, with students doing such charitable works as providing back-to-school haircuts for the underprivileged.

Maria Fessia
Maria Fessia
So it was only natural for her to stop in at the soup kitchen to offer her services – and she was surprised to learn about its boutique and salon that serves the financially strapped. She met boutique coordinator Nancy Robert and returned on the first Monday of the month to meet Debbie Moorhead and Linda Perrymen as they provided haircuts. With a number of clients queuing up, Maria pitched right in. Going forward, she plans to offer haircuts on an alternate Monday, thereby expanding the soup kitchen’s service.

Maria, who wants to have her own barber shop someday, is somewhat smitten with her alma mater -- the Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady, which, she said, “is famous for the phrase, ‘Success unshared is failure’.”

It’s a “mission to create a better world” and “instill positivity, gratitude and the philosophy of giving back.”

She added: “Students and staff actively participate in fundraising efforts and provide services to the community, and the work continues beyond graduation. I think it was rather auspicious that I happened to visit (West Side Kitchen) when I did and at a time when I was needed.”

Besides, “ I love to cut hair.”

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

These Volunteers Love Their Work

“Wow, Richard. You look great.”

Volunteer Nancy Robert was fussing over a guest at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen. He was getting a free haircut in the soup kitchen’s boutique and salon.

It was the first Monday of the month when guests could reserve a spot in one of the barber’s chairs and get a haircut from Debbie Moorhead and Linda Perrymen, owners of Hair Solutions in Yorkville.

They manage to trim and style the hair of 15 to 16 guests in a one-hour period before going back to work at their own salon. Linda and Debbie started volunteering their skills four months ago after donor Mary Gearhart of Queen’s Closeet in Yorkville approached them about helping out.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Linda.

The guests “are getting to know us,” added Debbie. “They say ‘thank you’ and they come back.”

“We love it.”
Linda Perrymen
Linda Perrymen
Debbie Moorhead
Debbie Moorhead