- How long have you been cutting The Tanager Place Kiddos’ hair?
I have been personally cutting the hair for Tanager Place for a little over 6 years now. First starting out with another salon I managed at the time, I personally coordinated dates and times forus salon to visit. After leaving the salon and starting my own company (Thompson & Company), my passion for helping the kiddos followed. Since then TCO has been cutting their hair for 3 years. About 3-4 times a year we make our way down to Cedar Rapids to the campus to give the kiddos haircuts. Even though we wish we could do it more often, we try to make it as much as possible.
- Why did you start doing this?
For me kids have always held a soft spot in his heart. Not only getting involved with Tanager Place, but Dance Marathon which works with the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, we try to get involved with kids as much as possible. For kids, getting a haircut can be a really scary thing. It is my job as a stylist to make the kids feel safe, confident, strong, and beautiful. Sometimes the average person doesn’t understand how big of a difference a haircut can make to someones day, week, month, or life. As a kid you rely so heavily on those around you. They shape you to become who you are. What you like, what you think is cool, they give you someone to look up too. After learning what Tanager Place was all about, I believed it would be a good way to show kids not only positive role models, but a career path as well which doesn’t take a four year degree to complete.
- What Keeps You Going?
What keeps me and the whole salon going daily is the people we work for and the connections we make. If it wasn’t for our amazing guests every day, we wouldn’t be able to live out our passion. For Tanager Place, what keeps us going is of course…the kids. One reason in particular on why Tanager place holds such a soft spot in my heart is a story about a boy name Noah. I was cutting Noah’s hair and he they were talking about each other’s lives. I gave Noah exactly what he asked for, a Mohawk. When the haircut was over, Noah ran into the bathroom and ran out and gave me a HUGE hug. “THIS IS THE BEST HAIRCUT EVER, THANK YOU SO MUCH!” Noah couldn’t have been more thankful for his time with me. I went up to his counselor to talk about what a great kid Noah was and the counselor told me, “There are no mirrors in that bathroom. He may love his haircut, but he loves you more.” To see this compassion in such a young child has keeps me going everyday.
- Do You Close Shop Down to do this?
Not as of right now, but it will soon enough. We are closed on Monday’s and our whole staff comes on their day off to come to give haircuts to the kiddos. It is something we always love to do with no problem at all!
- In your own words, what kind of impact do you believe you make on the Kiddos?
Honestly we all just hope we are a positive impact on their lives. We hope to show them whatever life you have been given right now, whatever resources are around you currently, when you grow up these things can change. Caring for people and doing good in the world, always wins. We hope we show this to the kids every time we are there.
- Any details I might not know that you would like to include?
We would love to give back more to the employees than we do! You all are just as important. It is a hard job you guys do, and you are truly beautiful people for the passion you have. After having the idea to have Nick Arrojo do one of the Haircuts for the staff members of Tanager Place, ideas have been stuck with us to start a special program for Tanager Place employees here at TCO. Even though we don’t have anything officially set up yet, we want to start getting back more to the Tanager Place, MYEP, and Hospital Employees.