It’s so easy to take where we live for granted; postcodes where a young parents’ challenge is electing which reputable school their child will attend – Double Bay, Bondi or Paddington.

Owner/Founder of PALOMA Salon, Paloma Rose Garcia

Paloma Rose Garcia uses her influence not for likes but for the greater good. Her latest foray? Aiding Literacy for Freedom.

A woman notorious for aligning words with action, Paloma has long been a creative for change. Nothing to do with a charity pitch primed for PR (and profit) – rather thoughtful, carefully considered alliances the businesswoman feels connected to.

Previous efforts include joining Paul and Ewelina Frasca at Sustainable Salons to help the homeless, and then at the Kings Cross shelter last Christmas, again in support of the less fortunate.

Paloma’s latest emotional investment is one that, as a mother, rings close to home. A passion that before landing in Hobart for the deep, dark and notoriously twisted Dark Mofo, was unapparent.

“I am so thrilled to support the amazing foundation that is The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ANLF). Upon visiting Dark Mofo recently, I was exposed to a lot of indigenous artworks and learnt more about the colonization of Australia,” starts Paloma.

“I had been thinking about who I wanted to help next, and suddenly it became clear: I want to help indigenous people as much as possible.”

The ALNF is ‘dedicated to raising language, literacy and numeracy standards across Australia; funds to develop, implement and sustain innovative projects for individuals, families and communities.’

According to Paloma, while language and numeracy standard is a more common problem amongst the indigenous and refugees, there are rural schools with just a 14% literacy success rate.

“If a child isn’t literate, they can’t get a job and from there it’s a downward spiral to potential homelessness, drugs, alcohol and so on.”

“It’s so easy to take where we live for granted; postcodes where a young parents’ challenge is electing which reputable school their child will attend – Double Bay, Bondi or Paddington.”

Not one to do things halfheartedly, Paloma took the cause to the salon floor, first building awareness through the education of her team.

“I educated staff around everything I was doing with the foundation – what they do and how incredible they are. The goal, as we then built awareness among clients, was to add a $10 donation to every bill.”

While some clients decided against the donation, most were all too happy with quite a few investing $50 or more. A salon owner reading this might wonder how (when it’s hard enough for staff to recommend retail) they would be so effortless in suggesting a charitable donation.

“We devised a comfortable opening conversation about the foundation’s 20 year history and its incredible success rate. Wearing the ANLF’s T-shirts also presented the ultimate talking point in-salon, and if I could see a team member was a little uncomfortable, I was right on hand to step in and assist. By the second day it was like second nature to us all and the sense of pride and achievement in our total funds raised was overwhelming … $2.500!”

“The PALOMA team is so proud to be part of a business that gives back,” says Paloma.

And for Paloma the woman, entrepreneur and editorial stylist, it’s a proud moment to use influence for change.

“It’s so important for me to be an active citizen. I feel really passionate about making as much change as possible. If I can use any form of influence I have to make a difference, I’m happy.”

And Paloma’s next chapter for charity?

“Assisting young, indigenous women to get back into the workforce. As hairdressers, we know the power of hair – its influence on confidence, character and first impressions. Our skill is an incredible gift, and there’s nothing quite like using it to better the lives of those who need it most.”

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