Yvonne Reese has been a hairstylist for 43 years in Stark County. For the past six years, she has coordinated an event at the Canton YWCA called Love, Hair and Happiness to provide haircuts, manicures and massages to the homeless.
The event is close to Reese’s heart, as she once had a family member who lived at the YWCA and the organization continues to be meaningful to her and her family.
Reese grew up in Canton and graduated from Perry High School in 1979. She and her husband Larry live on six acres in Waynesburg. They have three rescue dogs: Hollie, Jack and Joey.
“We would have 100 dogs if we could,” Yvonne said.
Part of his life motto is to turn around and help the next person in line.
“My dream is to have every YWCA across the country have the facilities to host a Love, Hair and Happiness event around Valentine’s Day,” she said.
Would you describe the Love, Hair and Happiness event that you organize each year and that you hold at the Canton YWCA?
Love, Hair and Happiness is a Valentine’s Day celebration for all the women and children at the YWCA homeless shelter. After the first year, we opened it to Gateway 1 and 2 permanent supportive housing, New Beginnings and Refuge of Hope.
We offer haircuts, manicures, massages and a hot lunch with treats. Each guest, including children, receives a backpack full of gifts, all of which have been donated.
How long has it been taking place?
Love, Hair and Happiness has been around for six years now (excluding last year which was canceled due to COVID).
My niece Carrie is also a hair salon owner and hairstylist, and about six years ago she saw something similar on social media in another state where stylists were cutting hair for the homeless. She sent it to me and told me we should do something similar. I said yes. And, thought we should give them a gift bag full of hair products and maybe lunch.
My niece said I took it to a different level. He just grew up after that.
My sister was in an abusive situation in the 1990s and she lived at the shelter for a short time. It has always been a special place for us.
What does it mean to you to be able to help others in this way?
I have been a hairdresser for 43 years. For 20 years I owned Intrigue Salon and Spa and recently closed it in September 2021 after my lease ended. I opened a small booth rental salon called Salon Yvonne in the Canton du Nord.
Having known a lot of people in my industry and behind my chair, I like having the resources to plan this. I know other salon owners; other cosmetology school teachers and I network with everyone I know to help make this event happen every year.
My motto is like the Tim McGraw song… “When you get where you’re going, remember, turn around and help the next person in line, always be humble and kind.”
What are your favorite county activities, events or causes that you participate in?
Because of this event, retired Director Cathy Jennings asked me to serve on the YWCA Board of Directors. My reaction was that I’m just a hairdresser and I don’t know anything about this stuff!
I still learn every day how important the YWCA is to the community and how the funds are spent. After meeting other board members, I decided this was the right fit and I have served on the board for five years.
My husband and I have a few favorite causes, but pet rescue organizations are our favorite causes. We always support local shelters.
When we go out West, we volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Knab, Utah and donate to them. In fact, it helps local shelters across the country. His motto is “Save them all”.
I love going to Lake Atwood on my pontoon and I love working outside in my gardens. Fairy gardens are “my thing”. My husband and I live on six acres, so we have lots of gardens that I like to play in. Summer is our favorite season.
Also, I love to cook. It’s relaxing for me.
We love traveling out west, southwestern Utah and the Zion area, and love the other national parks. I am the third of three daughters in my family and my father raised me as a boy, working outside, hanging wallpaper and laying bricks etc. If I can’t physically do it, I ask my husband to help me, but I will try anything.
Would you share something about yourself that others might be surprised at?
My nickname is Boo Boo. As a child, I loved Yogi Bear. My sister who lives in Texas is the only person who calls me that to this day.
My other nickname is Redski. My husband calls me that because of my red hair.
Editor’s Note: Five Questions With… is a Sunday feature that features a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to participate, email [email protected]