MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — After learning of the financial barriers faced by disabled Rockford residents, salon owner Kayla Speaker says her store now performs about 30 free haircuts every six weeks.
Speaker owns the Beautiful Ambitions Salon and Spa, at 7914 N. 2nd Street.
She says she became aware of the hardships faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who receive limited income for their basic needs.
In Illinois, people are guaranteed $60 a month to cover expenses like haircuts, toiletries, clothing and more. Most of the money they get from the government goes to cover healthcare and living expenses.
After attending an event put on by Mosaic, a Rockford non-profit which serves more than 70 people locally, she knew she had to do something.
“If I can make people feel better, then I’m helping them in a different way,” Speaker said. “I would love to be able to donate monetarily, but this is the only way I can make an impact.”
“The people we support look forward to coming back here so much because of the community they experience,” said Tammy English, Community Relations Manager with Mosaic.
English says stylists are often unsure of how to interact with the disabled.
Speaker says she works hard to create a welcoming environment. She brings in a volunteer to do interactive story time with people, makes sure everyone’s favorite show is on Netflix and takes the time to get to know each of her new customers.
“People feel like they belong here,” she said. “I’m helping them feel like they’re pampered.”
Mosaic is hosting another “Discover the Possibilities” event at 1 p.m. on November 13th at Heartland Community Church, at 1280 S Alpine Road.
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