Providence Healthcare Foundation
Providence Healthcare Foundation

Marlon Manuba, an Operations Leader for Food and Nutrition Services at Providence Healthcare

Marlon’s small act of kindness

Jun 18, 2020

So many of us are desperate to get our hair cut with salons being shut due to COVID-19. The same is true for our residents in the Houses of Providence, our long-term care home.

This is the story of Marlon and how he decided to help our residents by launching a mobile salon, bringing haircuts directly to them, safely.

A son, brother, uncle, and Operations Leader for Food and Nutrition Services at Providence Healthcare, Marlon wears many hats. With long-term care residents at their most vulnerable, he is doing everything possible to help them cope during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, Marnellie, Behavioral Support Lead for the Houses of Providence, shared that the salon in our long-term care home at Providence was closed, which meant that the residents weren’t able to get haircuts.

Providence staff members Marnellie (left) and Marlon (right)

The residents are missing the hair salon service as it gave them a reason to leave their room and socialize, and also boosted their self-confidence. Marlon, having some experience in cutting hair already, offered his service to provide a semblance of normalcy to the residents. He spent his evenings and weekends sourcing haircutting equipment online since physical stores were closed during the pandemic. In a matter of days, Marlon’s mobile hair salon was up and running, with help from others, like Marnellie, who continues to be a key support in coordinating the haircut project.

"I knew how to cut men's hair because I cut my own and also have experience giving haircuts to friends and family. In preparation for the haircutting service at the Houses of Providence, I taught myself how to cut women’s hair. Let’s just say, I watched a lot of YouTube videos!” said Marlon.

The haircut project is wholeheartedly supported by the Houses of Providence management. While Marlon’s day job keeps him busy, he wanted to do more to support the residents in the Houses. He knew they were missing their family, just like he was. While cutting hair wasn’t going to bring them any closer to their families, he thought that if it could bring them a little joy during these difficult times, he was more than willing to give his time and service.

With new health and safety measures in place, the salon has gone mobile! Marlon visits residents in their rooms to cut their hair. Each resident also receives before and after photos of their haircut that they can share with their loved ones. The service has become increasingly popular in the Houses with over 120 haircuts since COVID and many residents waiting for their turn.

Before and after photos of James’ haircut

This experience has created a stronger bond between Marlon and the residents of Providence. "This is so much more than just a haircut. They tell me their life stories, and it inspires me to continue giving back to the incredible people who live here,” said Marlon.

He admits that spending time with the residents makes him think of his own family. With Father’s Day approaching, he is especially thinking of his dad who he is very close with. Normally, he and his father would be spending valuable time together and celebrating at a restaurant. They're planning a small and intimate celebration at home for this year's event.

With a very different Father's Day on the horizon this year, Marlon wishes the very best for the residents, many of whom are dads and granddads themselves. "My greatest desire is that all the dads get to connect with their loved ones in some way or another, while keeping a safe distance," said Marlon.

Marlon lives by the words: "random acts of kindness can make all the difference in someone's life." He believes that being kind to someone is so impactful and is hopeful that his small act of kindness can help his colleagues, and those within his care, get through these difficult times.

This Sunday is Father’s Day! Show your support for our frontline workers, our Healthcare Heroes, like Marlon, who selflessly go above and beyond to provide support to those who call Providence home. While our residents can’t celebrate this day in person with their families, know that our staff are there for them to ensure that they are not alone.

Donate to Providence’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to ensure that our residents have the resources they need to stay connected with their loved ones.

Strength is. Marlon.
Strength is. Our residents.
Strength is. Providence.