COSTA MESA – Roderick Grajeda walked from the Lighthouse Church in Costa Mesa last week along with a brand-new hair cut and second opportunity at life as he begins a brand-new task at Papa John’s Pizza.
“I merely got recently employed, so I requirement a haircut, yet I can’t afford it,” Grajeda said. “I viewed they were executing haircuts today so every little thing worked out perfect.”
Homeless sporadically because he was a teen, Grajeda, 33, was one of about 30 homeless people that gathered in the small church room lined along with plastic tables and chairs as stylists curled, sprayed and cut their hair – a small act of kindness for a group of people regularly ignored in the community.
What started in the fall as a two-man initiative by hairdressers Reggie Pamatong, 33, of Costa Mesa, and Dustin Berlin, 30, of Costa Mesa, to give free cuts to the homeless in neighborhood parks has actually grown to a group of as several as twenty volunteers that cut hair and give hygiene kits in Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Fullerton and Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
They come to the Lighthouse Church on the fourth Monday of every month.
“The homeless feel rejected. They are out there on the corner, and people daily can’t even check out them and they turn their head the various other way,” said Pamatong, that functions at Meleesa The Salon in Huntington Beach and Eighteen Eight Great Men’s Salon in Anaheim Hills. “We are right here to prove to enjoy for somebody that hasn’t been provided enjoy in a long time.”
Grajeda said he worked a lot of strange jobs over the years – Angel Stadium, Kentucky Fried Chicken – to attempt and make ends meet, yet life was tough. As quickly as his mother was diagnosed along with cancer concerning a year ago, he used any sort of cash he had left to pay for her treatment, making it almost impossible to discover a consistent place for he and his wife to live.
“It feels love (the streets) is my home,” Grajeda said. “yet it’s not great on the streets since As quickly as you fall asleep people will certainly attempt to harm you or steal from you. I went onto rooftops; it’s not truly a life.”
The haircut movement doesn’t have actually a name yet, yet its Instagram account, called “You Initial Project,” has actually over 8,000 followers. Pamatong said the group is functioning to make a nonprofit of the exact same name.
“Who’s next?” he shouted to the room of guests in Costa Mesa as they awaited their transformations and complimented each various other on their brand-new looks.
“They (the hairdressers) are kind and clean and a stand-out in the community,” said Grace Lynan Ashley, 56, that was introduced to the movement while sleeping at Lions Park in Costa Mesa. The curly blonde-haired woman left the building along with a smile on her face, despite a past dotted along with abuse and various other hardships.
“We every one of have actually value,” said Berlin, that used to job at Toni & Guy hair salons. “This is concerning feeling human, feeling dignified, and showing somebody that personal touch is important.”
The haircuts and hygiene kits are funded through a combination of out-of-pocket money and donations, Pamatong said.
“My funding is genuine reasonable yet I hope to look presentable,” said Elbis Perez of Costa Mesa, that has actually been homeless for the past three months. “As quickly as somebody sees yet another individual unkempt they don’t check out you nicely.”
A biennial homeless matter report released last week says the lot of homeless people in Orange County increased by 5 percent in the past two years, yet the overall numbers are down from 2009. The point-in-time count, conducted for the Commission to End Homelessness over three days in January, discovered 4,452 homeless individuals, up from 4,251 in 2013, yet down from 8,333 in 2009.
Hairstylist Casie Conway, 28, of Corona Del Mar, can easily know the struggles of her clients. As quickly as she tells people concerning her volunteer job along with the homeless, some reply along with ignorant responses concerning their situations.
“We every one of live about right here and drive by these parks and see the exact same faces,” Conway said. “It doesn’t truly cost anything yet our time, yet makes such an impact on someone.”
And for the stylists, their beloved portion is not the hair, yet making relationships along with the people they job with.
“Elbis was giving me his philosophies concerning life and the meanings of his tattoos; that’s quite rad,” Pamatong said along with a laugh. “Sometimes it can easily be rather emotional and sometimes it can easily rather fun.”
In the corner of the room, Pamatong worked tirelessly to turn Theresa Grant’s long blonde hair in to lush curves unfolding down her back. The self-declared Newport Beach “beach bum” had a spine injury 15 years ago and has actually been unable to job since.
“I enjoy it (the haircut),” she said. “It’s truly soft and I believe he did a wonderful job.”
For Grajeda, the brand-new haircut and job, which he landed along with suggestions from the church, is only the beginning. He has actually big plans for his future: saving cash for an apartment, going spine to school, and maybe buying a used Toyota for his wife for her upcoming birthday.
“It’s not great on the streets,” Grajeda repeated along with a pause. “Everyone wishes to be somewhere where they understand they are safe, can easily take a shower, consume a warm breakfast, or have actually a nice place to sleep.”
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