Volunteering with Style

Apr 12, 2019

Our volunteer Luz Ciupeiu was named MVPP (Most Valuable Person on the Planet) on the Steve Cochran Show on WGN Radio 720 AM. You can listen to her live interview from April 24 here.

As we wrap up National Volunteer Week, we spotlight another volunteer who helps us Fight for Good every day. We appreciate all our volunteers! 

On any given Wednesday evening at The Salvation Army Norridge Citadel Corps, Captain Michael Sjogren will tell you that “every nook and cranny” of space is filled with a program. There are Bible studies, basketball games, music programs, and parenting classes. But, you’ll also find a quiet ministry tucked in a hallway off of the main gathering area. That’s where Luz Ciupeiu has set up a mirror and barber chair to lend a hand to clients, staff and friends of The Salvation Army.

Ciupeiu is no stranger to the corps. She’s a soldier, who, even after moving to Arlington Heights, drives 25 minutes each way to attend church services on Sundays. It wasn’t long ago that an unexpected tragedy brought her to the doors of the Norridge Citadel Corps.

Her house burned to the ground on Thanksgiving Day, 2008. She had seven children under the age of 18 at the time. As the family rebuilt their lives, The Salvation Army helped them with bills and other emergency assistance.

After she and her husband got back on their feet, Ciupeiu said she wanted to do something to give back.

“I asked God for a talent, and he rewarded it to me,” she said.

Ciupeiu is a licensed hairdresser. In between caring for her family, working full time as a gate agent for American Airlines and operating a salon out of her house, she volunteers to cut hair for free at the Norridge Citadel Corps.

Every Wednesday, a sign is posted on the door of the corps. Any client, staff member or friend of The Salvation Army can sign up for a haircut that evening. Ciupeiu cuts hair from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Many evenings she stays later to fit in as many as six haircuts.

“I do this because God has given me more than I deserve,” Ciupeiu said.

While there’s no charge for the haircut, Ciupeiu asks for donations of one dollar for children and two dollars for adults. All of the money goes to The Salvation Army’s World Services. 

“It’s important for me to change the person’s attitude,” Ciupeiu said. “You can feel better. You can feel like a new person.”

Maureen Rogers brought her 13-year-old grandson, Vince, for a haircut on a recent Wednesday evening.

Rogers’ family has been touched by The Salvation Army. Her daughter, Alana, was in the Pathway of Hope program. Vince is a member of the Adventure Corps.

“He’s in eighth grade now, and he’s starting to notice things,” Rogers said. “To have a nice neat trim is really important.”

Captain Kristina Sjogren says Ciupeiu’s volunteerism is reflective of the culture at the corps.

“One thing I think’s unique about Norridge is the community takes care of each other,” said Captain Kristina Sjogren. “This is one way I see she takes care of them, by offering her time.”

She says the haircuts give clients a little bit of pride.

“Their spirits are lifted because she ministers not just to their hair and looks, but to their hearts,” said Pamela Church-Pryor, community ministries director at the Norridge Citadel Corps.  

Ciupeiu has been offering the free haircuts for a little more than a year with no plans to put down the scissors.

“There’s something special in this place that I can’t leave,” she said.

Learn how you can join the Fight for Good:

Related Content: Family, Programs / Services, Housing / Shelter, Poverty, Volunteering

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