“When you look good, you feel good,” says Kendall Ong, owner of Mane Attraction Salon in Phoenix. “You have a certain confidence in yourself and bounce in your step.”
Ong and his team of stylists at MAS helped spread that confidence to 28 graduates of Year Up Arizona's program last week by donating professional hair and makeup services so the grads could feel special on their big day. Year Up Arizona is part of a national nonprofit that aims to help disconnected young adults find opportunities for career growth. Since its inception in 2000, Year Up has helped more than 11,500 people in 14 cities across the U.S.
We asked Ong a few questions about why MAS got involved with Year Up and his passion for philanthropy – and, of course, great hair.
How did you hear about the Year Up Phoenix program? What prompted you to get involved?
One of our clients, Kim Owens, is their executive director in Arizona. As she told us of the great work that Year Up does, we knew right away that this was an important program for our community and we wanted to get involved some way, somehow.
I'm sure for many of these students, this was their first time getting professional hair and makeup done. Why was it important to you to give this gift to them? How does a polished outer appearance contribute to inner confidence? How does it make a difference in their job search? How much would a special-occasion makeover like this typically run?
Self-confidence and awareness is important for everyone, but for young adults entering the workforce it is of particular importance. Oftentimes they have the skills, but are still trying to discover their “brand.” Our part as a salon is to help them find their unique selves. Because our clientele is diverse, we have pricing that ranges from $78 to $150 for makeup and hair styling. The pricing is dependent upon the seniority of the stylist and the work that is done.
What are your hopes for the students you and your team worked with? Have you done similar philanthropic work with your team before?
We want the students to feel proud of themselves and to look their absolute best for their friends and family at this momentous occasion in their lives. This is a new beginning for them and we are just happy to be a part of their special evening. As a longstanding business in Phoenix, we feel it is imperative to give back to our community. At MAS we have a Philanthropy Team that seeks out various organizations to work with. In the past we have worked with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Singleton Moms, the ASU Cronkite School of Journalism and St Jude’s, to name a few.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about this project in particular or MAS in general?
Year Up is doing great work for our community, and if you can, please support them with a donation – or better yet, hire one of their graduates. One of the unique qualities of MAS is that we are an employee-based hair salon rather than hiring independent contractors. All of our stylists go through an extensive 12- to 24-month training program before they can even work on our clients. Because of this, there is a consistency in everything we do, and our clients know they can see anyone in the salon and get the same great service every time.
How to get involved:
Mentor – Provide guidance, suppor, and advice to Year Up students as they start their careers.
Tutor – Be there to provide students academic guidance and help them hone their technical skills.
Speak to a class – Inspire young adults with your story, and share your insights on building a career.
Propose a project – Interested in helping out with events, guest teaching, or other projects? Have a project to propose?
Donate – Visit the website for more information and to donate.
Courtesy Morgan Domaracki
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