For Donna Baker, owning a salon that caters to abuse victims is only part of her goal to create awareness for the issue in the community.
This past weekend, Baker was able to debut Lydia’s Place to the community during the open house.
Gov. Tari Renner was there to cut the ribbon and the public was welcomed to learn about the salon and Baker’s goal to help women that have been victims of abuse.
“It was a welcoming and calming place and people enjoyed being there, it was very successful and I’m very happy,” Baker said after the open house.
The Neville House presented Baker with a plaque in appreciation of efforts to help the community and provide self care.
Other businesses donated refreshments and goody bags to the guests in attendance. The event was to debut the salon, which provides free services and a place for fellowship. It was her dream that became a reality.
Her dream began in 2009 when Baker began to volunteer her services at a local shelter. She became inspired by the women who gathered in the kitchen to watch her cut and color their hair and began to dream of a place that she could have proper supplies and a designated place to serve these women.
Baker was inspired by the women as they came out of their shells and began to encourage one another. Baker said the time together gathering to style their hair made a huge impact on the women and began to be very rewarding to her.
“You could just see a huge change in their stature,” said Baker. “They were so appreciative … They were so hungry for care.”
Baker believes that in addition to support groups and shelters, women can benefit from the confidence boost of a good cut and color, a relaxing facial or a clean manicure. However, the salon provides more than that, Baker creates an environment that welcomes women to come for fellowship.
Located in the old Bloomington Junior High School, the remodeled space was inspired by Baker’s original experience as a volunteer.
The waiting room is designed to resemble the original kitchen where Baker began her services, with a big kitchen table with games and novels so women can feel comfortable while they wait or visit.
Because the salon does not provide shelter or training for the women to return to the work force, they do not qualify for grants and rely on donations from the community. Baker receives financial help too so she can buy top quality and professional products. Baker wants to provide the best services to her clients.
“I have to be hopeful that in the future there will be grants I can apply for, but I am not depending on the grants to provide the services,” Baker said.
Until then, Baker relies on the help from donors and the community to aid her in supplies and support the salon, which in turn supplies and supports many in the community.