By Bob Harris
Larry Mattola, owner of LP & Co. Hair Design in Fresh Meadows, has been opening his salon on a Sunday prior to the holiday season to provide beauty treatments to developmentally disabled children and young adults for 30 years. Now, additional establishments such as Concept E Salon, LULU’S Bakery, Salon Visentin and Chazzam Entertainment are involved in doing something nice for others during the holidays.
The patrons of LP & Co., Concept E and Salon Visentin buy raffles, which provide money to cover expenses for toys, decorations and beauty materials. Local stores provide prizes for the raffles. LULU’S Bakery gives bagels, cream cheese, pastries and other food. Chazzam Entertainment provides the costumes volunteers wear to entertain the individuals who come into to be treated to a wash, a haircut, nail cutting and polishing.
In different years residents from group homes or District 75 schools or parents who hear about this event bring youngsters to be treated, entertained and receive gifts of various kinds. Volunteers can include Michael, a friend of Larry who owns Visentine in Manhattan; Cynthia and Metina, who attend Long Island City High School and Queens College and whose mother works at LP; or Larry, who goes to Mattola’s gym in Westbury, L.I., and decided to come. The staff not only donates their time but bring their family members with them to help.
Ashley Babb, shift supervisor from the Queens Center for Progress, brought three individuals who come every year and enjoy the attention. Some volunteers are retired teachers and some are from the community.
Then there were U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Don Carney and Staff Sgt. Ken Boss, who had bags of goodies and a smile and willingly posed with the youngsters. They did not come last year because they were in Afghanistan.
Mattola and his wife Anna work hard for this holiday event. He said, “God bless everyone who is participating … especially the human spirit.”
GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: Bill Bratton will be the next police commissioner, which is good news for us.
BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The NYPD has issued an alert about a new scam to steal our money. Criminals get information about a resident, then call pretending to be a family member or grandchild who has been injured or arrested. The criminals sound so convincing that people wire money.
Be careful! A thoughtful clerk at Walgreens prevented a neighbor from losing money.