By Kimberly Mack
Todd Sterling Brown, owner of the Sterling Salon in Studio City, has learned to count his blessings, especially in these difficult economic times. As he gazed out his salon window recently, he noticed a woman shuffling down the street, shopping cart in tow, her clothes unkempt and hair matted. He had an idea. He would give free makeovers to less fortunate women that had hit hard times.
The makeovers took place on Tuesday, July 28th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Sterling Salon on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City for 45 battered women from the Domestic Abuse Center in Northridge. The women were provided free round-trip transportation to the Salon by Officer Jesus Maranda of the LAPD, Van Nuys Division.
Gale Pincus, Executive Director of The Domestic Abuse Center, also a client of the Sterling Salon, was key in coordinating this event for the battered women of the Center. Other business owners assisting were Jose Neria and Vanessa Valarde of the Jose Neria Salon, and their staff. Coffee and muffins were happily supplied by Mark Gunsky and Moira Shevlin of Aroma Café.
“I learned to count my blessings and be thankful for what I have,” Todd Brown commented. “If you have food to eat and a bed to sleep in, you’re doing okay. Someone always has it worse. Everything here today was donated. I grew up with a single mom and I know how hard it can be. Many of these women are single mothers. They have to feed their kids and get them to school. They don’t put themselves first. We wanted to help.”
“We wanted to give these women a presentable edge when looking for a job,” added Javier Oropezo, a stylist at Sterling Salon, “and help them make a good example for their children.”
Moira Shevlin, General Manager of Aroma Café, first heard of the makeover day while getting her hair done, and offered to donate refreshments.
“It was the most amazing day,” noted Moira. “These ladies are the real heroes. We wanted them to have a cup of coffee and a muffin and get their hair done. They needed a gift from the heart. It’s so important to give a little bit of hope. It balances out all the other crazy stuff going on today. Life, love and hope.” Moira added. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Gail Pincus, Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Center, added, “I’m so grateful to the Salon for doing this. One woman who had her hair cut and styled had not been in a hair salon in 50 years! Another woman did not have the money, so she had to cut it herself. It’s wonderful to see people giving back to the community. The Salon donated an entire day and had eight hair stylists working until 6:30 at night.”
“I forgot what it feels like to be a woman,” confessed one woman when she saw herself. Another had tears in her eyes and thanked Todd for letting her come to the Salon.
“I realized,” reflected Todd later, “that we do have the power to touch people’s lives.”
It may be back to business as usual at the Sterling Salon, but July 28th will be a day that the women of The Domestic Abuse Center will always remember, and perhaps it will give them a little bit of hope.