Freezin’ for a Reason – Supporting Camp Sunshine this January

Jennifer Elkhouri

For years, I’ve seen coverage of what I consider complete nut jobs jumping into FREEZING cold water in the dead of winter. I have always thought, “Why would anyone ever do that?” Then, I heard about the Virginia Polar Dip … and how it can help children battling cancer. Sold. I will do just about anything for these children. They endure treatments that are outdated due to lack of funding — in fact, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s research dollars are allocated to childhood cancer research. So, I figured the least I can do is jump into some ice cold water, scream as I am doing so, and maybe cry a little afterward, but most importantly, raise money and awareness.

Well, I’ve been doing that each year since 2015 (with two exceptions: 2018, I had the flu and 2019 the event was not held). This year, due to COVID, the event will be virtual, but YES, I will still do something crazy outside involving freezing cold water. But this year, more than ever, Camp Sunshine needs OUR help.

Please help me by either making a donation (no donation is too small) OR signing up to PLUNGE with me on the Salon Khouri team! You just need to have your frozen experience Feb 6th – 14th. A few ideas for you to participate: make a snow angel in your bathing suit; have a winter water balloon fight (just make sure the balloons aren’t frozen — ouch!); fill up a kiddie pool and go for a quick dip; run through sprinklers or get sprayed by a hose. All funds raised will help send children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to Camp Sunshine.

2015 Polar Dip Cutting the Ice

Gotta cut through the ice first … 2015

 

2015 Polar Dip Jump

2015 Polar Dip Jump

 

2016 Polar Dip Jump

 

2016 Polar Dip Team

 

Our 2017 team

 

Our son who jumped on my behalf in 2018 because I had the flu.

 

2020 Post Jump – adrenaline was keeping us warm … for about 2 minutes.

Team Mathias – Our December 2020 Community Outreach Partner

We are honored to tell you about our December community outreach partner, local non-profit, Team Mathias.  We will be donating $1 from every haircut this month in support of Team Mathias and the ongoing childhood cancer efforts undertaken by Team Mathias, founded in his precious memory. Mathias Giordano was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in July 2012 at the age of 11. For 29 months, Mathias endured biopsies, a port placement, 30+ rounds of high dose chemo, 3 major lung surgeries, amputation of his right leg below the knee, 27 rounds of radiation and a number of clinical trials. He battled cancer with the courage, spirit and strength of someone much older and he touched the hearts of everyone who met this fierce warrior fighting for his life. And through it all, Mathias refused to let cancer define him. He was,  to the end, the author of his own journey. Mathias decided on December 7, 2014, at 5:00 in the evening, that it was time to leave this world. He is missed every day by those who knew this courageous young warrior.

A legacy of Mathias is the Virginia Cure Childhood Cancer licence plate. Mathias wanted others to know about childhood cancer so Mathias’ family and friends worked with Delegate Tag Greason (R-32nd) to pass the Mathias Bill. “The Mathias Bill passed the House earlier by a vote of 98-0,” Greason told the Times-Mirror. “It has been amazing to watch Mathias’ vision become a reality and it is inspiring to know a small child can make such a huge impact.”

Another of Mathias’ ideas for spreading awareness was to do random acts of kindness, to pay it forward to others. We ask that you consider performing a random act of kindness this December in honor of Mathias and, if you post about it, please use the hashtags #PayItForward and #MathiasStrong.

Please take the time this December learn more about the facts on childhood cancer. Visit the Take Action page on the Team Mathias site and help spread the word. You could also participate in their Adopt-A-Family program to help directly support a family fighting Childhood Cancer. Last year, in 2019, Team Mathias was able to load up 4 SUVs from top-to-bottom with gifts for families in treatment or bereaved families.

Supporting veterans through Boulder Crest Foundation

Boulder Crest Foundation

A suicide epidemic claims the lives of 20 service members and veterans every day, and more first responders die by suicide than in the line of fire. Millions of other combat veterans and first responders live lives filled with despair, battling PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The current mental health system, with its reliance on a one-size-fits-all approach of pharmaceuticals and talk therapy, has failed to address the nature and scale of this challenge.

Enter in our November Community Outreach partner, Boulder Crest Foundation, a leader in the field of posttraumatic growth for veterans and first responders, as our November Community Outreach partner. The mission of Boulder Crest Foundation is to facilitate Posttraumatic Growth through transformative programs, world-class training and education initiatives, along with research and advocacy efforts to help combat veterans, first responders and their families overcome trauma.

The organization was founded in 2011 and opened its first center in 2013. It is led by founder and chairman, a 21-year combat veteran Ken Falke, retired Master Chief Petty Officer from the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) community. Ken is world-renowned as a forward-thinking, creative leader in the field of wounded warrior care, military and veteran transition, counterterrorism, military training, and innovative technology development. 

Boulder Crest Foundations programs support warriors, couples and caregivers, and families by providing rest and reconnection. One of their programs, Warrior PATHH, is a transformative, lifelong, Posttraumatic Growth-based training program for combat veterans and first responders. The training begins with a 7-day on-site initiation that is followed by 18 months of training delivered by our instructors through their myPATHH platform. 

Boulder Crest Foundation has a speakers’ bureau that includes Ken and Co-Founder Josh Goldberg as well as the institute’s professional team. This resource provides speakers and presentations to interested businesses, community groups, military units and schools. Speaker representatives have trained active duty military, veterans, first responders, and civilians at organizations including COMSUBPAC, SEABEES, SVAC Sierra Vista Area, U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Rotary Club of Winchester, Warrior Reunion Foundation, Semlec Police Mobile Operations Division, Accenture Federal Services, Leadership Loudoun, Shenandoah University, U.S. Marine Corps, United Rentals, and others.

This November, we will be donating $1 from every haircut we do to the Boulder Crest Foundation. In addition to your support through your visits to Salon Khouri, you might also consider visiting the Boulder Crest website to become more familiar with this amazing, local non-profit. 

Tigerlily Foundation Won’t Stop Fighting – Our October Community Partner


Every person on the Salon Khouri team has known someone who has battled breast cancer. It’s an awful disease that affects millions of women worldwide. The rates of breast cancer affecting younger women, aged 15-45) is on the rise. Thankfully, Tigerlily Foundation, a 501(c)(3) international nonprofit organization headquartered in Reston, Virgina, meets their specific needs. Tigerlily Foundation provides education, advocacy and support to young women before, during and after breast cancer. Its outreach focuses on the breast cancer community as a whole and includes family, friends, health advocates, physicians, researchers and more.

Virtual Pink Boa 5k

Any woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer clearly understands the wide range of emotions, physical symptoms, financial impact, conflicting opinions, and the entire roller coaster ride of breast cancer. Tigerlily provides much needed emotional support during this time.

This month, Tigerlily Foundation is hosting its premier Virtual Pink BOA 5K. We’d love you to join the Salon Khouri team between October 1 – 31, 2020. To join our team go to (insert our link). You can walk 1 

mile, run 3.2 miles or bike 11.8 miles. And, you can track and upload your results using your Apple Watch or FitBit. Be sure to share on social media with #TigerlilyFoundation and #SalonKhouriLove.

This October, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut we perform to Tigerlily Foundation.

Our September Community Outreach Partner Just Hit This Amazing Milestone!

If you have been with us at Salon Khouri for some time you will recognize Ellie’s Hats, a nonprofit founded to brighten the day of children with cancer through donating not just hats but other items to children and their families. We chose Ellie’s Hats once again as our local non-profit community outreach partner for September 2020 and we will be donating $1 from every haircut to this amazing organization. 

In 2019, Ellie’s Hats launched an initiative, partnering with Pediatric Specialists of Virginia (PSV), to identify five local families in need of financial support each month, and to donate $1,000 to those families. On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, Ellie’s Hats delivered five checks, pushing the organization’s total donations to a $100,000 milestone! 

In the words of founder, Jay Coakley, “More than anything, this [milestone] is a reflection of what is possible when we all come together to support a greater cause.” Dr. Christopher Lawlor, PSV Philanthropy Chair and Medical Director of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, added, “Ellie’s Hats keeps our kids and their families covered, from the hats on their heads to the financial support in their homes. We are appreciative of their support. Ellie’s Hats understands the financial impact childhood cancer can have on families. They are always there with support.”  

Ellie’s Hats was founded as a 501 (c)(3) in 2014 after Ellie started kindergarten at the Woodburn Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia. Ellie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in spring 2013. By the time she entered kindergarten she had lost most of her hair and was always wearing hats to school. 

Her teacher, Jay Coakley, noticed she had an affinity for ‘fun and cheery hats.’ He organized a hat drive to provide her with a broader selection of hats to wear and thus Ellie’s Hats was born. 

Please take a moment to visit the Ellie’s Hats website to see how you may be able to help.

Bringing Freedom Through the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative

FAITH. JUSTICE. FREEDOM

Human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime in the U.S. This August, we have partnered with Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative (NOVA-HTI), a local, Christian nonprofit combatting human trafficking, as our community outreach partner. The mission of NOVA-HTI is to prevent human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, disrupt related networks, and restore those impacted. Their strategy is to network, serve, pray, and create awareness to mobilize the local Church and community to make a difference in its own neighborhoods and ultimately, eradicate human trafficking in Northern Virginia. NOVA-HTI stands on the front lines of human trafficking by connecting with the public, law enforcement, service providers, and volunteers to identify those being trafficked and provide intervention, crisis response and aftercare services. NOVA-HTI uses a trauma informed case management system requiring extensive training and re-training of their volunteers who work with victims to help them begin to trust again and who assist them in their long journey to freedom and healing and has served as a model across the nation to empower communities to recognize and eradicate trafficking.

In 2010, Congressional Representative Frank Wolf asked the local faith community to be involved in the fight against human trafficking in Northern Virginia. The Pastors Consortium, a local group of church leaders, heeded this call by forming a team call the Loudoun Human Trafficking Task Force. They decided the best way to fight human trafficking was to serve those already in the fight, such as government agencies, non-profits, and service providers, by funneling community members and resources to them and by creating awareness within the community. In early 2013, the group re-branded itself as the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative, officially becoming a 501(c)3 organization.

Please join us in supporting NOVA-HTI organization by either considering a volunteer role or by donating to the cause, and by supporting them in prayer. We are donating $1 from every haircut we do in August toward this invaluable, local nonprofit.

Human Trafficking Stats

In the U.S., trafficking is widespread in major populations such as New York, California, and Texas. The North to South highway corridors along both coasts are also extremely popular travel routes for
quick exits to and from the U.S. Almost 80 percent of human trafficking is for sex while 19 percent is to exploit labor. There are in fact more human slaves in the world now than ever before in our
history. There are estimated to be 27 million adults and 13 million children who are victims of human trafficking. A startling fact is that human trafficking can include but does not require movement. There
are examples within communities where victims are enslaved through coercive and deceptive practices into a life of involuntary servitude including forced labor and debt bondage.

Another devastating effect of COVID-19 is the recent increase in Child sexual abuse images and online exploitation surge during pandemic. World Population Review indicates that so far in 2020 in Virginia there have been a reported 198 trafficking cases or 2.3 per 100,000 population.

 

Helping feed local families during the COVID-19 crisis

This month has certainly been one that no one could have imagined just weeks before.

We promise to be here for our community, even in this time. Typically, we donate $1 from each haircut to our monthly community outreach partner, but, not being able t

o perform haircuts would then hurt what we are able to give.

We’ve been so honored and blessed by SK Enthusiasts who have been buying gift cards and product from us during this time to show their support for our Salon Khouri team. We wanted to match this love back to our community and will be donating 10 food items to Dulles South Food Pantry for every $100 sold in online gift cards or online product purchases during this time.

We are grateful each day for our team, clients and our amazing community!

With love,

Jonathan and Jennifer Elkhouri

Heeling House – our February Community Outreach Partner

Heeling House, Inc. is one of the pioneers in the field of Animal Assisted Interactions (AAI).  Since 2013, Heeling House has been providing Animal Assisted Interactions for  children with special needs in local schools, libraries, hospitals, and therapeutic centers in the Northern Virginia Area.

At its center in Sterling, they provide a variety of programs to meet children’s needs, from infancy through high school. The Heeling House Center offers animal assisted therapy, social skills groups, social clubs for teens, occupational therapy, reading therapy, summer camps, and obedience and therapy training for dogs. We also breed, whelp, and train service dogs specializing in Psychiatric and Autism task-work. These specially trained dogs learn to recognize behaviors that could lead to self-harm and will interrupt the pattern, keeping the child safe. The dogs provide calming support, for example, leaning against the child or placing their head in the child’s lap or laying over the child. These interactions benefit not only the child but also the parent as it decreases family stress levels.

Heeling House is a 501(c)3 and provides services for the entire DMV area. Please help spread the word about this valuable service for children with special needs. Check out their website at https://heelinghouse.org/. Salon Khouri is honored to be donate $1 from every haircut this February to Heeling House from our Fairfax and Dulles Landing locations.

How we are helping our wounded warriors this November with Luke’s Wings

Jennifer Elkhouri

I just finished reading The Trident, the Forging and Reforging of a Navy Seal Leader, by Jason Redman, which I purchased after having the honor of hearing Redman speak at the Business Mastery by Millennium conference in October. In the book, Redman tells of his journey to leadership and the many challenges, both physical and personal, he faced along the way. In 2007, Redman was struck by machine gun fire — twice in the arm and once in the face — on a mission in Iraq hunting down a key al-Qaida commander. Reading Redman’s words of his perseverance through his injuries, even after many setbacks, was absolutely inspiring. Jonathan and I are truly thankful for Redman and every man and woman who have put themselves in harms way defending our freedoms.

We are also thankful that our salons are able to give back to our wounded soldiers through our November community outreach partner, Luke’s Wings, whose mission is to support wounded, ill and injured service members by providing families with a means to visit during their recovery and rehabilitation. For over a decade, Luke’s Wings has provided complimentary airfare to wounded warriors and their loved ones to bridge the gap of separation during rehabilitation, helping keep them physically and emotionally connected on their journey to recovery.

We’d love to take a moment to share a few stories of those who’ve been helped by Luke’s Wings.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ricardo P.U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ricardo P. is a dedicated patriot with a combined 37 months in combat tours. During his time overseas, he sustained multiple injuries due to combat with the enemy, exposure to blasts and IEDs, and running with heavy equipment. As a result, he underwent months of treatment related to a spinal injury, a traumatic brain injury, PTSD and hearing loss, among others. As he continues to receive treatment here in the United States, he reached out to Luke’s Wings with a simple request – to see his family in Cali, Colombia for Christmas. For our wounded warriors, seeing family gives them hope, purpose and motivation to take the next step in their recovery. We are proud to support warriors like Ricardo who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.  “I could not be blessed a better way by having the team allowing me the chance to travel to South America and visit my family.” – U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ricardo P.

 

 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Brandon B

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Brandon B was involved in an accident during his deployment, resulting in complete numbness in his entire lower body and the inability to walk. Before long, his kidneys and liver began to shut down and they were immediately medevaced to the United States for critical treatments. They soon found themselves at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD with no idea what would come next. After multiple tests, MRI’s and consultations, he finally began down the path to recovery. When the Christmas season soon approached, they were far from family and unable to afford travel home to Tampa, FL. However, through Luke’s Wings, Brandon’s family was provided four flights so that they could surrounded him with family during the holidays, including his grandmother who was battling stage 3 ovarian cancer. These flights gave a family, who has been through so much, a chance to return to normalcy among the chaos of uncertainty.

 

This November, we are donating $1 from every haircut at our Fairfax and Dulles locations to support Luke’s Wings. If you have unused Delta SkyMiles, please consider donating them to Luke’s Wings.

Hearts of Gold: Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation – our October Community Outreach Partner

This is our fourth year that we have selected Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation as a Salon Khouri community outreach partner and it’s because we love their mission so much! Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation is a 501c3 whose mission is to raise awareness and funding for Childhood Cancer Research while providing Christian focused support to the Childhood Cancer Community.

A majority of their funds go directly towards funding childhood cancer research initiatives through world class organizations such as the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Because childhood cancer remains the #1 cause of death by disease for children in our country and because childhood cancer research currently receives less than 4% of the total national cancer research budget, they remain committed and passionate about doing their part to help find cures! The goal of AACCF is to help support new research through providing whatever funding they can in order to help make a difference in treatment options available to children fighting childhood cancers.

Here’s the impact AACCF had in just 2018 alone:

  • $100,000 Research Grant to Children’s National to help fund the REST Immunotherapy Trial (more).
  • 260 Care Packages delivered to children at Fairfax Inova Children’s Hospital and to families and children in 14 different states
  • 12 Prayer Team visits which included bringing gifts, breakfast, coffee, and lots of LOVE to the families at Inova Children’s Hospital. In 2018, they incorporated a few themed visits including an EMOJI party and one time bringing Rapunzel with them!
  • 70 Prayer Pillowcases sent out to children and families
  • 60 Super Hero Dolls made lovingly by their friend Kristi Catlett at GoldRibbonCrochet
  • 100 parent toiletry kits delivered to Fairfax Children’s Hospital to be kept on the unit and distributed as needed to parents unexpectedly staying overnight
  • Additionally, they embarked on a few new things this year:
    • They sent families to Minefaire and gifted them with tickets for the whole family!
    • They created Forever in our Hearts Kites and mailed them to 18 different families.
    • They also helped provide meals to 4 different families locally in 2018.

And, on November 16th, 2019, they will be hosting the Hearts of Gold Gala to celebrate Five years of giving back to our local community. You may register for the gala here.

This October, we are donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Dulles locations to Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation and we know that every single penny will bring blessings to those in our local community battling childhood cancer.