During his work, Haircuts 4 Homeless founder Stewart Roberts came to an important realization: homeless people feel invisible and believe no one listens to them. Roberts wants to give them a voice and he’s doing just that with his new podcast, “Hear Me, See Me.” Via weekly features, Roberts’ podcast highlights the stories of homeless people and the experiences of Haircuts 4 Homeless volunteers.
We’d like to share one of the experiences – and the lessons learned – with you.
Siobhan Laffan leads the Haircuts 4 Homeless team in Dublin, Ireland. Laffan’s involvement with Haircuts 4 Homeless began with simply volunteering, putting her hair stylist skills to use by serving homeless people in Dublin. Eventually, Laffan became the team leader – a role she insists belongs to the team as whole. That’s because the Haircuts 4 Homeless team in Dublin take on a lot of responsibility, serving about 800 people in need per day.
Laffan describes how people from “all walks of life” can be impacted by homelessness. From women escaping domestic violence to young adults losing their homes after the death of their parents, every story is different and deserves empathy. Laffan reminds listeners why it’s so important not to judge the homeless based on outward appearances – you never know what someone is going through.
Laffan describes how her experience in helping one young man, not much older than her own son, broke her heart. The young man – recently homeless – walked in just as the Haircuts 4 Homeless stylists were wrapping up. He hoped it wasn’t too late for a haircut. Laffan welcomed him and, as the young man received his haircut, he opened up about his circumstance, including how he had been “sleeping rough” and was only just able to secure a spot at a youth hostel. All his life possessions were in a rucksack he carried with him. When he told the story of how a nice women at the youth hostel washed his clothes, Laffan teared up. He was so grateful for the simple acts of kindness others showed him.
Along with the reward of serving the needy in her community, Laffan describes the impact of Haircuts 4 Homeless on her life. Mainly, how her volunteer work brought a renewed sense of gratefulness in her own life.
Zenoti is proud to partner with Haircuts 4 Homeless, and bring attention of unheard voices. You can listen to the complete interview with Laffan here.
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