Salon celebrates 10 years with a day of service
Anita Kurl owner Amiee Parco’s life has been a whirlwind of change over the ten years since she opened the salon in 2002: she became engaged, married, had two children and got divorced, all while establishing a popular beauty destination in the South End. Now, as Parco marks the tenth anniversary of her business, she wants to show her appreciation to the community in a meaningful way: by providing free cut and color services to clients of two local service organizations, Project Place and the Home for Little Wanderers’s Waltham House, New England’s first group home specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens. “I wanted to give back to the neighborhood that helped me succeed,” Parco explained. This unique anniversary event will take place on Saturday, July 14, at Anita Kurl at 1661 Washington Street. While Parco said that Anita Kurl contributes regularly to charitable causes, giving 20 to 30 donations and gift cards per year, this is Anita Kurl’s first philanthropic event. “[Donations] are a good way to give, but your hands aren’t in it,” Parco said.
Parco exuded energy and enthusiasm as she talked about Saturday’s event, still tan from the “best vacation of my life” with her children, ages 5 and 7, at an eco-resort in Mexico and with her faithful, four-legged assistant, ten year old chocolate Lab Gwen, by her side. Parco conceived the idea while talking with a client about meaningful ways to mark the salon’s anniversary. Parco wanted to do something other than the run-of-the-mill party. She brainstormed with the client about how to help the community. Many studies show the connection between an individual’s self-steem and their appearance, and it didn’t take long for Parco to come up with the idea of a day of service to give those who need it a boost.
“It wasn’t hard to find organizations that I could relate to,” Parco said. Project Place struck a chord with Parco because it serves many victims of domestic abuse, which is an issue very important to her. Parco also likes the fact that Project Place, which began in 1967, provides not only shelter, but two years of follow-up with guests, including job training, counseling and a path to employment. Appearance is important during job interviews, so it was a perfect fit.
Likewise, Parco is eager to serve the Waltham House guests, in recognition of the “amazing” support she has received over the years from the LGBT community. Parco explained that she is looking forward to the chance to help teens who are exploring their identities to craft an image of themselves. “I’m really excited to help these kids express themselves and feel good about who they are.”
Anticipating Saturday’s charitable “day of beauty”, Parco said, “We’re going to have our work cut out for us, ” Parco describes her typical clientele as mostly middle-class and well-educated, ranging from Boston University medical and Tufts dental students to empty-nesters who have gravitated to the city once their children were grown. Parco also notes with pride that she and her staff all brought with them many longtime clients, some of whom have left the area but return periodically to get their hair done at Anita Kurl. Parco related that one client divides her time between the South End and South Africa, coming in regularly when she is in town. Other long-distance loyalists come from somewhat less exotic locales from New Hampshire to California.
Anita Kurl is a full-service salon offering appointments and some walk-in visits seven days a week. For more information on their services, visit www.AnitaKurl.com or call 617/266-2668. To learn more about Project Place and the Home for Little Wanderers, visit www.projectplace.org and www.thehome.org, respectively. The Waltham House, which will also mark its tenth anniversary this October, has a page at http://www.thehome.org/waltham.