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Dec 02, 2019

Volunteers at Local Salon Help Residents of HABcore to Look Good and Feel Better

By Joanne Colella

Many people may be familiar with the phrase “look good, feel better.” It’s actually a term that is used for the name of a free national program that helps women undergoing cancer treatment to cope with the cosmetic side effects of those treatments. But the phrase certainly applies to many other situations.

 

Michele Lawson understands the meaning of those words all too well. An experienced hair stylist in the Red Bank salon she now owns, she became a longtime volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better” program after her own mother went through cancer treatments. Lawson eventually went on to establish Wig Warriors, a nonprofit foundation in her mother’s honor, which provides free wigs, wig care and other cosmetic services to cancer patients.

But her volunteer efforts don’t end there – and her generous philanthropic nature is obviously shared by her dedicated coworkers, as well. On some Mondays throughout the year, when the salon is usually closed for business, Hair & Company opens its doors to the residents of HABcore, an area nonprofit that provides housing and support to individuals who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. There, they receive a warm welcome, refreshments, small gifts and a private day of pampering, with the salon staff working together to lend their time and talents to provide free haircuts and styling services for all the HABcore residents who attend.

 

 

The kind initiative dovetails perfectly with HABcore’s mission of providing dignity and hope, along with stability, to those who need it most. The individuals who come to the salon offer express their gratitude and their delight in the salon service they receive and the way it bolsters their confidence – further proof that when you look good, you feel better.

Just as she is with the work she offers for Wig Warriors, Lawson and her staff are incredibly humble about their volunteerism with HABcore, and they beam when they talk about their time spent doing it and the people they have the privilege to serve and have gotten to know. But their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and certainly not unappreciated. On Sept. 27, HABcore hosted its “A Night in Morocco” gala fundraiser at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. Lawson was aware of the event and was invited to attend, but was uncertain of her availability until the last minute. Determined to show her support, she managed to end her work day early enough to make it to the event. It wasn’t until the evening’s agenda was underway, speeches were being made and awards were being presented did she realize that she was one of the honorees, given special recognition for all that she and her team at Hair & Company does – something that the people at HABcore had kept as a secret from her and that she never even noticed in the event program once she arrived.

In presenting the award, HABcore noted, “Several years ago, when Michele approached her salon staff with the idea of offering free haircuts several times a year to the men and women of Coffey Residence and Laurel House, they totally embraced the idea. They stay after hours and offer a hair wash and an attractive hair style to each resident. Michele carefully chooses the timing of these visits so the residents look their best for holidays. HABcore thanks Michele and her staff for sharing their hair design talents and enhancing the lives of HABcore boarding home residents.”

It was a well-deserved honor for someone who demonstrates the value of being a beautiful person, both inside and out, and helps to make so many others look good and feel better.