Stylist Raises Funds, Awareness of Domestic Violence

Shaves head to show daughters beauty's not skin deep

·                                 By Kaitlin McCallum

·                                 February 15, 2011


A hair and makeup artist knows about beauty and a mother who has led two gorgeous daughters through years of pageants, even more so. But just to make sure her girls didn’t get the wrong idea, Lisa DiRenzo shaved her head.

“You’re worth more than your long hair and your external beauty,” DiRenzo said Monday night at Zinc Salon, where she organized “Notice Your Self Worth Expose,” a fundraiser for the Notice Family Foundation and the Petit Family Foundation.

In addition to raising money, the evening was meant to raise awareness of domestic violence, victims’ rights and what the community can do to help.

DiRenzo, once a victim herself, wanted to tell her daughters and other young women, that realizing their self-worth can save them from thinking they have to endure abuse.

DiRenzo works at Zinc Salon in Unionville and had always been concerned about domestic violence awareness. When she heard the story of Tiana Notice, a young woman murdered two years ago in Plainville, DiRenzo knew it was the right opportunity.

The effort began at Zinc, to which DiRenzo brought musicians from among her family and friends and an ice sculpture donated by LaSalle Market and Deli and carved by Ed Jarrett. It spilled over into Caffeine’s Café, just next door, which provided catering and extra space for a silent auction. Yume and George’s Pizza and Restaurant also provided some food for the event and many other local businesses contributed to a silent auction benefitting the two foundations.

Tiana Notice’s parents, Alvin Notice and Kathy Lewis, spoke Monday night, of their daughter and the cause they’ve taken up since they lost her.

“We’re her voice, we’re here standing for her,” Lewis said, “and we want to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else’s child.”

Alvin Notice, who began the Notice Family Foundation just after Tiana’s death in 2009, has been actively fighting for domestic violence victims, most recently advocating for GPS tracking for offenders. The foundation installs security cameras in the homes of domestic violence victims so they will have proof restraining and protective orders have been violated. Notice is currently suing the town of Plainville because, he said, his daughter has repeatedly sought police protection after her ex-boyfriend violated a restraining order but was told she needed proof.

Dr. William Petit also spoke Monday night about victims’ rights. He told the crowd about logging onto the Connecticut Coalition of Domestic Violence website one day in September and seeing that 1,125 victims had been served that day. That, he said, would be seven or eight people per town and beyond that, 73 percent of domestic violence goes unreported. Domestic violence, he said, is all around us.

“We have a victims’ rights law but it doesn’t have a lot of teeth,” Petit said. “We have restraining and protective orders but they don’t have a lot of teeth. There needs to be a different way to go about it.”

What the community can do, Petit said, is support local women’s shelters like the Prudence Crandall Center in New Britain and Susan B. Anthony in Torrington.

And then there’s DiRenzo’s hair. The strength to get out of a bad situation or to not end up in one is found in knowing you’re worth something, DiRenzo said. And no matter how you look, DiRenzo told daughters Que, 19, and Chelsea, 22, the beauty’s on the inside.

So you may see the 45-year-old stylist at Zinc in Unionville, showing off the courage to go without hair and the courage to notice her self-worth.