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Boro salon takes day out of schedule by catering to disabled

TimesLedger Newspapers

For 28 years LP and Co. Hair Design, on Union Turnpike west of 188th Street, has been working with special schools, the Queens Occupational Center and United Cerebral Palsy to perform beauty activities for their clients, who otherwise might never go to a professional beauty parlor.

Larry Mottola, owner of LP, volunteered his shop and time one Sunday prior to the holiday season. This year, the event took place Dec. 4 after a break last year because the economy was bad.

Mottola gives full credit to his staff, their families and friends and the customers who sometimes volunteer their time but who also buy $2 raffle tickets to pay for some refreshments and decorations to the shop. Other shopkeepers donate baskets of goods, which are raffled off. Lu Lu’s Bakery provided pastries. Little cupcakes, cookies, bagels with spreads and juices and coffee provided refreshments for young and old.

When one walked into the shop, there was a babble of sounds, laughter, happy voices from children and their parents and holiday music filling the room. Some of the children and young adults were in wheelchairs. Some had severe disabilities and had to be watched carefully and coaxed into sitting still while the beauticians performed their magic. Hair was washed and cut, nails were trimmed and covered with all kinds of colors and makeup was applied with everyone taking pictures.

Every year, a brace of U.S. Marines comes from the Environmental Services Detachment D in Redbank, N.J. Gunnery Sgts. Don Carney and Nicholas Marchesonn looked splendid in their uniforms and gladly posed with the children for photos. Everybody looked happy.

The LP staff often brings their own children, who also help. Some have been coming for decades. Some dress up in cartoon character costumes, such as Elmo and Tigger. Anthony Galeotti was Santa Clause. The volunteers were given an LP shirt, which said on the back, “Share the Joy of 2011.” The staff members who were able to come this year were Denise, Olga, Marina, Brad, Erica, Seeta, Maria, Jane, Karen, Maria A., Lena, Lana, Zina, Angela, Michelle, Anna and Jennifer.

Among the volunteers were teachers and staff members from PS 811 in Little Neck. This is one of the schools in District 75, which services special needs students. There was teacher Marilyn Biaggi, her daughter Elise and fellow teacher Beth Altmann, plus parent coordinator Denise Jordan. They were there to comfort and enjoy the festivities with their students, who were there with their own parents.

Larry Mattola, the salon’s owner, praised his staff and their families for their volunteer activities and believes that an event like this one makes a person feel good.

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Kent Atkinson from College Point says:
Bob Harris! What a wonderful surprise it was to see a story with your byline on it. I've fond memories of you from my brief time at HS for Arts and Business. Seeing that you were doing a story about some of my truly most favorite people, the kids of the District 75 programs was heartwarming as well. Be well, my friend , and keep up the great tradition of "muckraking" journalism!
Dec. 23, 2011, 8:48 pm

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