As seen on "Beauty Changes Lives" website
(The following is the essay entry which won Mary the scholarship).

Spring 2014 Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education Scholarship Program Winner – Advanced – Mary Ecker

by Heather Widler May 22,2014

​ CommentCom-pas-sion /kəmˈpaʃ.ən/ – sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

It seems no coincidence that the word “compassion” contains the word “passion”, because that is what I truly have… a passion for hair, for art and for their combined power to heal.

​ “Compassion” is much more than just a word to me. Having experienced the physical needs of my own mother, “Compassion” is my vision for a company dedicated to providing salon services for the elderly, disabled and recovering patients unable to venture beyond their own front doors.

​ We’re all familiar with the expression, “When you look good, you feel good.” Unfortunately, housebound persons don’t always have the option of a rejuvenating salon experience. I want to use my passion for hair to help people heal and feel good about themselves.

I love art, and the way it moves and motivates people. Art in three dimensions is an exceptional experience. We are involved in it. We can touch it. It moves and breathes. Hair is three dimensional art.

​ Vidal Sassoon knew this. He inspired us to look beyond salon books and express our individual creativity. His love for architecture influenced his aesthetic approach to cutting hair and changed the industry completely. His unique styling methods liberated women from stiff, teased hair and tedious weekly “beauty parlor” visits.

When I cut hair, I’m sculpting. When I color hair, I’m painting. Seeing my work revive a person’s spirit is incredibly rewarding. This is the true gift of our profession.

What my mother would have given to have someone style her hair every week! A back injury which confined her to a wheelchair, opened my eyes to the needs of the disabled and their caregivers.

Shortly after a visit with my mother, I noticed a young woman sitting alone on the steps outside the salon where I was working. I quickly realized that she wasn’t well. When I went out to offer her my help, I found that she was disabled and had been dropped off in front of the wrong salon. I tried to assist the woman, but she could walk no more than a few steps at a time. She was in pain and clearly exhausted. I knew then that I had to make a change in my life so that I could make a difference in the lives of others.

​ Stylists spend every day one-on-one with other people. I dearly want that time to be truly special to my clients. Vidal Sassoon fought against discrimination. He had a lifelong passion for human rights. He believed in making people feel good. This is my inspiration. I hope to honor Sassoon’s ideals by offering salon-quality services to those who seek that experience but lack access to them. Helping someone smile and feel good, there’s nothing more rewarding.

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