In Atlanta, Georgia, Rick Westbrook, Art Izzard and Paul Swicord founded Lost N Found Youth after each of them experienced being turned away when attempting to place lesbian or gay youth into local shelters and youth aid programs. Today, the organization helps homeless LGBT youth with temporary housing, job search assistance and counseling, as well as many other services.
Timothy Hays, a stylist at Salon Red, in Atlanta, learned of the organization’s efforts and decided to rally his fellow salon team members around Lost N Found’s monthly fund-raising event, The Big Gay Game Show. Held at the local nightclub, The Jungle, which donates the space and the money collected from tickets purchased at the door, The Big Gay Game Show features spoofs on game shows such as Let’s Make a Deal, Newlywed Game, Match Game, Family Feud, and Password. A silent auction at the Wedsneday-evening events help raise additional funds.
“The organization helped about 100 homeless youth last year, and this year it hopes to help as many as 200,” says Hays. “The game show is a fun middle-of-the-week event, and I was hoping that by getting people there, they’d have a good time and it would encourage them to support the organization and the cause in the future.”
“When I brought the idea of getting the salon team involved to my salon manager, she had just received the Charity Challenge application from Wella. She handed it to me and encouraged me to apply," he remembers. "I had just three days before the deadline to get the essay in.”
Before the salon members participated in the game show night, Hays promoted it on the salon’s Facebook page, promoted it through posters hung in the salon, and talked it up with clients. He also gathered donations of toiletries to take to Lost N Found.
Hays was excited to win one of the Charity Challenge’s $1,000 grants, and he happily presented the check to the Lost N Found organization during a Big Gay Game Show Night. “The Charity Challenge is an awesome idea, and I’m so glad we were able to participate the first year and that the money will help such a great cause.”
In 2013, Wella's Hairdressers at Heart Charity Challenge awarded 20 finalists with grants that totalled $43,000. The next Wella "Supports Your Cause" Charity Challenge will commence in the spring of 2014. For more information and updates, please visit hairdressersatheart.com.
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