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  • Writer's pictureJenn Doppelt

Paying it Forward: the Heart of Mutual Aid

Written by Jenn Doppelt

Is self-care a luxury? How does one even define self-care in a world that is dominated by performance and self-sacrifice? To martyr oneself over the American dollar is the norm and living the American dream takes the place of living a healthy lifestyle.

Far too often we get caught up in this push and pull of leveling up and we put blinders on when it comes to our mental and physical health. Output becomes the measure and input is disregarded. The outcome becomes a society of people putting out more than they can take in.

There is evidence of this in our environment. This takes off more than what we can bring in. Our resources are finite and if we don’t restore and give back, we are depleted. Warning bells go off, but we ignore them. Because if we stop then we might lose out or miss out on the life that we see everyone else living.

When we can’t unsee this and find ourselves in a place we want to help but don’t necessarily have the resources available, calling on our community is where we begin. We see those that need restoration but are trapped in a system of inequity. We see those that are trying and could use a filling up. Getting your hair done, a facial, or a massage may seem petty to one but to another this could be just the thing that keeps them from going over the edge.

We believe that beauty is not just felt when we look in the mirror but is felt and embodied by touch, by being seen and heard, and by the release of any type of toxic energy stuck in our bodies. A fresh new haircut or color could be that one thing that helps someone to walk in confidently to that job interview. It wasn’t the haircut that got the job. It was the confidence that came from the experience of the haircut.

Pay it Forward is a program that was inspired by the founder of The Beauty Project Salon created by Jillian Haun. Her vision to bring beauty services to those in need in an inequitable society felt like something that we aligned with. We recognize that everyone has the right to feel beautiful and we see the opportunity to give back. As a small business the truth is that we don’t have the resources to give in big ways and our team members don’t have the resources to give free services. To help bridge this we have created a fund to help bring resources to our team members to cover the cost of services to our community members in need.

Currently, I’ve been volunteering at my son’s school and have mad respect for the teaching staff. When I see these caring professionals work diligently to meet the needs of the students post pandemic, I can’t help but want to show gratitude for their hard work. I know that there is a ton of self-sacrifice and passion for their job, because to be honest they do not get paid enough for the value they are providing our future generation’s education. Every educator deserves a nomination for a free service.

I think of the young person who has had to make some tough life choices at a very young age and one service in the salon could be a game changer for their present self. I would argue that a self-care experience, specifically a hair service could be life changing.

Self-Care is necessary for survival. It’s not a luxury to care for yourself. To deny oneself is to deny everything. It is finding the balance between the give and the receive. It’s a powerful moment one steps into when they can open to receiving restoration. It’s a chance for us to take a pause and take the pressure off so that we can fill back up. Because as the saying goes, you can’t give from an empty cup.

At Elevate we have made it easy to give back. Adding to our fund can be done while you are in the salon, or you can simply head here to sponsor a service. Applications can be found here. If you are not in need, please nominate someone you believe would be able to benefit from this program.

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