United Hair Lines Supports Warrior Support Team™ Mentoring Program
In February, Michelle Erjavac, a stylist at United Hair Lines, a Chicago-area hair salon, held a fundraiser in support of the Warrior Support Team's (WST) Mentoring Program, an outreach program of MarineParents.com, Inc. Michelle recorded the event and entered the video in a contest sponsored by Wella Hair Care. Little did she know that, only a few months later, she would be one of two grand prize winners.
On the warm, sunny morning of Monday, June 29, 2015 Michelle and her husband, Tim, traveled from Niles, Illinois to our corporate office in Columbia, Missouri to celebrate the presentation of the $10,000 grand prize. We were excited and grateful to have the opportunity to accept such a wonderful gift that will greatly help wounded and recovering heroes.
The morning began with a breakfast of bagels and assorted breakfast pastries while Michelle told us the story of how she came to enter (and ultimately win) the contest. One day while she was at work, a supplier told Michelle about the contest. Michelle was interested and talked to her manager about the salon entering it. The manager liked the idea and told Michelle she could pick which charitable organization to nominate.
Michelle, whose son has been in the Marines for approximately one year, has been active on Marine Parents since he was in boot camp. As she explored our various outreach programs, the information about Posttraumatic stress (PTS) and Warrior Reintegration on our Warrior Support Team website really hit home with Michelle, so she decided to try to win the contest to help our WST Mentoring Program combat and raise awareness of PTS.
The first step for the salon, after deciding which organization to support, was to hold a fundraiser on our behalf. The employees and manager decided to hold it on a Sunday (meaning they gave up their only day off that week) and other businesses from the mall in which the salon is located got on board with the fundraiser and provided items for a raffle. In addition to giving up her day off, United Hair Lines' manager also put off rotator cuff surgery so she could be present.
After the fundraiser, which brought in roughly $2,700, Michelle made a video explaining who the Warrior Support Team is and what the WST Mentoring Program is trying to accomplish to submit to the contest judges. The video contained images from the fundraiser and video clips of employees talking about the program, and was set to a beautiful song that was written and recorded by the daughter of one of Michelle's coworkers.
After the video was submitted, it was just a matter of waiting, hoping, and praying that United Hair Lines and the Warrior Support Team would be one of the two grand prize winners. Finally, after a few anxious weeks, prayers were answered when Wella Hair Care announced the results--United Hair Lines and the Warrior Support Team had beaten out more than 100 other organizations to win the grand prize* in the "Community Impact" category!
We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank United Hair Lines, and Michelle in particular, for their hard work and generosity. None of what our organization accomplishes would be possible without the support of such amazing people!
* The winners were chosen based on a combination of votes received online, which accounted for 40% of the basis, and the video for the judges about the organization, which accounted for the other 60%.