Oct 1, 2014 2:50 PM by Alyssa Deitsch
My Salon in Chico opened its doors this week to offer free haircuts for women living in a local homeless shelter.
Owner Natalie Carmichael teamed up with one of her clients, who works at the Esplanade House in Chico; a transitional housing program for homeless families, aimed to help them progress from a state of crisis to one of self-sufficiency.
Shannon Hurd is one of the many women who walked through the doors of My Salon this week, ready to get pampered after years of hardship. She abused drugs since she was 15 years old.
But after living in the Esplanade House for 15 months, she's turning over a new leaf.
"January 19th," Hurd said. "I will be clean for two years."
Carmichael knows how uplifting a new hairstyle can be and she wanted to give women a makeover on the outside to match their internal transformations.
"I know what it feels like to get your hair cut," said Carmichael. "I know what it does on the inside."
She invited stylists from around the community to join her on her mission for what she dubbed "Free Haircuts from the Heart for the Homeless."
"I just really want to help people feel good about themselves so that they can flourish in their own lives and progress within themselves," Carmichael said.
Hurd's journey of personal transformation has been a long, tough road.
Hurd said she knew she had to change her lifestyle after her children were taken away from her and her partner, detained from Child Protective Services on August 18, 2012.
"We had to do something different," Hurd said. "Time to do something different."
Hurd got sober and finally found the different lifestyle she needed at the Esplanade House. There, she found structure, sobriety, and self-sufficiency.
But Hurd knows she is far from her end-goal. "I've still got a ways to go," she said through tears.
Stylist Holly Berry worked with Hurd Monday. She said it was a pleasure to work with Hurd and hear her story.
"To know that she made that decision that she wanted to better herself and better her family and do it the right way is so touching," Berry said. "Where she's come from and where she is now-- it's so great to see someone have that kind of transformation and be able to... style it and put [that transformation] in her hair and be able to make her feel like the amazing woman that she is."
"My honey is working," Hurd said. "So when he gets home, he'll see a new woman!"
Hurd, her partner, and their three boys all live at the Esplanade House. They are applying to build a house through Habitat for Humanity.
Carmichael says she would like to continue "Haircuts from the Heart for the Homeless" and is inviting other salons to get involved. You can reach out to her on her Facebook page.