Volunteer stylist brightens days for those in need

With a line already forming, Molle, a professional hairstylist at a boutique salon in Saint Paul, walked into Catholic Charities’ Exodus Residence on the coldest day of the new winter. Her bright smile and easy rapport were immediately evident as she wasted little time inviting the first resident to enjoy a free haircut.

At the tender age of 19, Molle moved from the small Iowa town to Saint Paul, launching her dream career. “I love making people feel good,” she shared. “Everyone deserves to feel special, and if I can give that back, I’ve had a good day.”

Shortly after her Minnesota move, Molle saw homelessness and despair first-hand in her new community. She found herself wanting to contribute something using her skills and doing what she loves to do – make people feel special. From a cousin, she learned that she could bring her talents as a hairstylist to Catholic Charities. She called the staff at Exodus and was welcomed with open arms. “Getting that kind of call makes a day go from good to great” shared Rachel Silver, Program Manager for Exodus. “Molle’s spirit came through the telephone, and I knew she would be welcomed by our residents.”

Like many of Catholic Charities’ nearly 1,000 apartments across Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Exodus Residence fills a critical need by providing housing and services to medically frail and vulnerable adults. Many residents are Veterans. All have experienced homelessness for extended periods of time. For these men and women, something as simple as a haircut provided by an experienced professional is a rare luxury. “I had a stroke last year, in November. I had hair down to here,” Sheila, 59, recounts using her hands to demonstrate her former long locks. “But I couldn’t even raise my arms (to take care of it), so they cut it all off.” This day, Sheila was among the first in line to get a stylish new cut.

“If you have a talent, it would cheat the world if you didn’t use it to give back,” said Molle. “I mean, everyone deserves a haircut.”

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