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Simi Valley event helps out families in need

VCSTAR.COM - Posted: 2-25-2014 at 9 p.m.

In a family facing tough financial times, Stephanie Iskandar was grateful to receive a free haircut, shoes and clothes at the fourth annual families in Need Cut-A-Thon at the Samaritan Center of Simi Valley.

“The last time I got a haircut was five months ago,” the 10-year-old said. “It was really cool because we don’t have money to get a haircut ... so it was a good privilege.”

The girl and her family were among numerous individuals who benefited from the collaborative effort presented by Ridone Inc., a nonprofit fueled by volunteers who provide free “compassionate cosmetology” services to people in need.

Sunday’s event also was supported by Conejo Valley Kiwanis and the Shoe Crew, a nonprofit that provided more than 100 new pairs of shoes for less fortunate youths.

“A big part of what we do is make sure that every single pair of shoes gets hand-delivered to local kids,” said Kayla Tinucci, 18, of Santa Clarita, founder of the Shoe Crew.

A simple haircut for a family of four can save up to $100, said Don Knypstra, founder of Ridone.

“That can be spent on food, clothing or medical needs,” Knypstra said. “This year, in addition to saving money on hair services, we can save them money on shoes for their children.”

Sunday’s event featured Kevin Dobbs from Global Spinners offering his DJ services, as well as face painting, a bounce house and other activities.

“This event brings the community together for a day that we all can forget about our problems and just have fun,” Knypstra said. “Events like this also bring awareness about the many families in our area that are affected by underemployment, unemployment and the stress it causes.”

Volunteers included 50 cosmetology students from the Simi Valley Adult School of Cosmetology and Marenillo School of Beauty who gave haircuts, hairstyles and manicures, as well as makeup applications.

Ash-lee Gray, a student at the Simi Valley Adult School of Cosmetology, took the day off work to volunteer.

Alicia Doyle - VCSTAR.COM

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