Our newest partner, Oakland Unite, hosts a Friday Summer Nights program through the summer in the highest risk neighborhoods in Oakland. Their mission is to prevent violence before violence occurs by utilizing proven and effective methods to reduce violence. Trust is built when neighbors can come out and enjoy conversation and food with other members of their community.

Oakland Unite reached out to us to see if we were interested in supporting their summer series. We attended this event in July, offering haircuts to the Fruitvale community at the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. The community enjoyed food, entertainment, raffles, and other services provided by other sponsors. They can meet local organizations like Haircuts with Heart and learn more about services that are available to them. 

For instance, at this event, one of founding board members and volunteer stylist, Jenifer Akagi of 77 Salon Inc. in Oakland came out to share her haircutting talents. She also brought the whole family too! Ayako Kiener, Jenifer’s daughter, photographed the evening for us, and created a sweet video. Kobe Kiener, her son, helped to check in our guests. Jenifer wears many hats: stylist, makeup artist, busy salon owner, and fearless leader in her community. We always appreciate her wonderful presence at our Personal Care Days.

Because of events like this, people come out of their houses and meet their neighbors. They share food, music and fun. Kids can play and parents can talk. 

More importantly, people in the Fruitvale District could receive free services at this event. Participants could sit down after a long work day and remember what it feels like to take care. They could get a free haircut, grab a plate of food, listen to great music, and share with their neighbors.

Volunteers like Jenifer, open their hearts, share their talents, and help to make each participant feel a sense of dignity again.