Almost everyone, no matter where they are in their life’s hair journey, understands the joy and rejuvenation a fresh haircut can bring.
A haircutter by trade, Don Myers has been bringing that joy to clients and the community for more than 40 years now — and now, most recently, to seniors on Vashon.
In August 2022, Myers began partnering with the Vashon Senior Center to establish the Senior Saints program on the island. He provides free haircuts to seniors who need one, whether they’re lower income or simply seeking a trim and a smile.
It’s a program he initiated a decade ago in collaboration with the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle, there serving unhoused and marginalized communities.
Now, he said he’s honored to bring the program to Vashon.
Through it, free cuts are available one to two times per month at the Senior Center, depending on demand. Myers says he currently does about 10-15 cuts per month. If time permits, he’d like to double that number. Anyone interested in receiving a cut can call the Senior Center and make an appointment for an upcoming session, held on Mondays.
And while the program focuses on seniors, Myers extends an invitation to all who need a cut.
The spirit in the room is lively during the sessions. Cuts begin around 1 p.m. — there are no set appointments, so there’s time to linger and chat while waiting. At a recent session, the buoying effect of “a day at the salon” was evident: not long into the hour, visitors buzzed with laughter and conversation, and exchanged recipes for Mexican chocolate cream pie.
Conversation and connection aren’t a trivial byproduct of the program.
Traditionally, the senior community is highly impacted by isolation, and that isolation drives health crises. These problems, of course, have been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Saints addresses these two needs of the senior population head-on.
An entrepreneur and philanthropist at heart, this is the third iteration of the free haircut program Myers has led. He began initially with the Chicken Soup Brigade in Seattle — through that effort, Myers coordinated more than 100 hairdressers who provided cuts to people in hospice care.
As a person who is driven by community, both professionally and personally, Myers hopes to inspire others to service through the program.
“We’re all here to help each other. That’s what we get to do,” Myers said in an interview, in between snips of hair.
Of the time he’s given to other programs, he said, “My greatest memory was doing the 1,000th haircut for the seniors at the mission. The elders threw me a party. It was so touching, humbling really. I’ve wanted to bring this to our island since COVID.”
When he’s not wielding his scissors for philanthropy, Myers works out of his salon in the Starbucks headquarters, and his island salon, The Estuary Salon. Tucked into the forest just north of Judd Creek, the Estuary is a retreat in and of itself, a lovely place to live and work.
After four decades, the profession is still bringing Myers joy.
“There’s nothing better in life than a beautiful haircut,” he said.
Unless, perhaps, it’s a beautiful haircut and an opportunity for seniors to connect to community on Vashon.
To learn more or sign up for a free cut, call the Vashon Senior Center at 206-463-5173.