After traveling two hours by bus Monday, 18 children under the care of a Virginia nonprofit that helps abused and neglected kids arrived at David’s Beautiful People, a salon in Rockville, for a day of pampering.
While a trip to a salon may not seem like an extravagance to the average person, the experience proved to be more than a morale booster for the kids served by Childhelp. The Phoenix-based non-profit organization—which operates facilities in California, Tennessee, Arizona and Virginia—focuses on helping children who have been removed from their homes because they have been severely abused or neglected.
In addition to providing children with a safe place to stay, Childhelp is a full-fledged treatment facility that includes a school, on-site medical personnel and provides various forms of therapy. Up to 67 children can stay at the Lignum, Virginia Childhelp facility at one time, with stays lasting anywhere from nine months to two years, according to the non-profit’s website.
Wade Hardman, director of community relations at Childhelp’s Virginia location, said the organization take kids to events like the day at the salon six or seven times a year. The goal is simple: To make the children feel special.
“We do everything we can to help build them back up in the short time they are with us,” Hardman said.
At the salon, the kids, ages 6 to 13, were treated to breakfast from Bagel City and then stylists washed, cut and styled their hair—even giving some highlights. A few children had their nails painted and used the massaging chairs designed for pedicures. Magician Anthony Ware performed while the children had their hair cut and styled. Afterward, the group dined on CiCi’s pizza.
As the girls got their hair trimmed and curled, grins spread across their faces. Many of the boys received special buzz cuts, getting lines and lightning bolt designs cut into their hair. One boy giggled the entire time his hair was being washed.
Childhelp organized the event with the help of David Cohen, owner of David’s Beautiful People, and Bryan Corsini, a long-time member of The Greater Washington Area Advisory Board of Childhelp and an executive vice president of Pacific Western Bank.
Corsini said that he and his organization were working to give these kids “a little sense of normalcy.”
“Really, we are just trying to give the kids the chance to be kids,” Corsini said, adding that the outings are also designed to help the children learn to trust adults again through their interaction with the stylists.
Cohen said that he plans to organize another event for Childhelp kids. Although the bus that transports the kids, which was donated by DC Tours, can only transport about 20 at a time, he would like every child who is staying with Childhelp to get the chance to be pampered. In addition, he believes that getting the word out about abused and neglected children is important and there is no better way to spread the word than to bring them into the community.
“Just letting people know about the plight of these children is needed,” Cohen said.
All photos by Alexandra Nowicki.