Founder Don Knypstra Biography

Founder Don Knypstra Biography

Don Knypstra is the founder of Ridone Inc, a 501c3 non-profit organization with the primary goal of providing cosmetology services and an apprenticeship program for people with disabilities and their caretakers.

Don is the leading voice in advancing the need to provide cosmetology services to people with disabilities and under-served communities. His desire to help his community stems from his personal experience. Don was paralyzed with arthritis at the age of three. His family moved from Lone Pine to Sylmar, California, so that Don could undertake several years of therapy at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Don went through his school years in the special education section of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), graduating from Granada Hills High School in 1974 and continuing his education at Pierce College in Woodland Hills.

The son of a painter/construction supervisor, Don followed the family business into construction until 1988, when he attended cosmetology school and received his license in 1992. Remembering his experience with his childhood disability, he combining his skills in cosmetology and his desire to assist the physically and mentally challenged, Don founded Ridone.

Don worked as a stylist until the 1994 Northridge earthquake destroyed the salon where Don was working, he returned to construction for several years but he never lost his desire to help the less fortunate, he continued to donate his cosmetology services at Northridge Hospital hospice unit, Los Angeles County’s Van Nuys Community Center’s food bank program and high-risk youth programs, domestic violence programs, disabled student’s center at CA State University Northridge, along with the National Deaf Association and Student Disabled Services located at CSUN.

Don worked as a lab technician in 1997 and 1998 with LAUSD cosmetology department, and later became a job developer with Los Angeles County Community and Senior Services for special projects such as domestic violence, welfare-to-work, and L.A. County GROW programs for the homeless. During this time, Don donated countless hours of hair services for these programs, in addition to a free haircutting day at New Horizons – a program for the developmentally disabled. 1999 thru 2001 Don worked for Community and Senior services as a job developer and eligibility worker for the Los Angeles County Superior Court child support and domestic violence projects. Don also was a district supervisor for the City of Los Angeles from 2002 thru 2010 maintaining city owned buildings. 2008 thru 2010 Don received a certificate of training for the City of Los Angeles Mayors crisis response team working with LAPD and LAFD. Continuing working with his nonprofit Ridone Inc. (services for people with disabilities) until 2013 he became employed by Simi Valley School District as a State of California credentialed Cosmetology and Building trades’ instructor.

Discovering a lack of cosmetology services and training of cosmetologists in providing services to people with disabilities, Don began speaking engagements in 1998 at area cosmetology schools and universities on why and how to work on people with disabilities. He has also developed a teaching curriculum to educate cosmetologists and students on how to serve people with disabilities. He introduced the mobile and stationary salon, first of its kind that is specially equipped for the disabled for the 1.4 million people with disabilities in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Speaking engagements at Cal State University Northridge, Fullerton College, LAUSD West Valley Occupational, Cosmetology School, Marinillo School of Beauty, East LA School of beauty, Simi Valley Adult school of Cosmetology, NewBerry School of Beauty and LA Community and Senior Services. Advisory Board Member of LAUSD Cosmetology department, Simi Valley Adult School of Cosmetology

Don also serves as board member of the Latino Educational Fund, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded to help Latinos improve their lives through scholarships, career development services and financial literacy.

 

 

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