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New program aims to provide haircuts for those seeking jobs through 2nd Chance

Guelph woman behind the initiative is looking for local hairdressers willing to help out
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Some employment programs may help prepare candidates for job interviews with interview tips, but this one wants to help by giving them a new haircut.

A new program is in the works to provide free haircuts to men and women seeking employment through 2nd Chance Employment. The idea is volunteer hairdressers will cut the hair of clients from 2nd Chance Employment.

Besides haircuts, the program would also provide basic skincare or makeup advice for job interviews for anyone interested in learning more.

Deanne Blackwell is behind the idea for the program and recently reached out to 2nd Chance Employment. As an aesthetician and makeup artist for over 20 years, Blackwell said a haircut can make men and women feel so much better.

“It’s something so simple, but makes a huge difference, and that’s what they need. They need that confidence and they need that feeling of feeling good about themselves to present themselves in an interview and get that job," said Blackwell.

Currently, the potential program is looking for hairdressers who would be interested in volunteering their time. Interested residents who can volunteer can contact Blackwell at [email protected].

“I’m open if it’s something that’s done maybe every couple of months when they get a new group of people. I don’t mind that, but I’m waiting to hear back from 2nd Chance to see how they want to proceed with this," said Blackwell. “Ideally, it would be good if we had two (hairdressers), but if we had one, we would accordingly with the one and schedule them."

She adds one’s level of confidence and presence are a part of any job interview.

“I want men and women to feel that they are appreciated and that they can do this, because going into any interview is all about your presence and confidence, and if your hair hasn’t been cut in a while, and nobody had ever talked to you about basic skin care, or a light application of makeup, then it’s easy enough to not feel good about yourself,” said Blackwell.

“What I’m hoping is that these tools will give them empowerment and a sense of confidence, and to know that somebody does care about them, and somebody wants to help them get this full-time job or even a part time job.”

Part of Blackwell’s interest in working with 2nd Chance stems from her own experience of returning to work.

A former spa owner, Blackwell experienced an accident in her business, resulting in the top of four bones in her foot being broken. She said she originally expected to recover from the accident in six weeks and maneuver around on crutches.

“I didn’t understand the severity of the breaks, because the surgeon gave me 15 screws in place to hold all these bones, so I was in a cast for six months," said Blackwell, "and I lost everything. I lost my job, my home, my car, everything just because my income was gone as my own business.

“So, the process of starting from the bottom and not having anything felt. I remember how a haircut felt, I remember going buying just a silly little tube of lip gloss felt. It’s not a big deal, but when you have nothing, it is a big deal.”

Now much better, Blackwell said she felt that she could help others who were in a similar position as she was.

“I’ve always believed in giving back to the community, and I think that everybody, it doesn’t matter where you live, everybody needs a helping hand and I feel really strongly about this.”