By Lisa Capobianco
Patria Disla, the owner of Miracles & Beyond, Not Just Another Hair Salon, recently opened an adjourning portion of her building to house Beyond Life Boutique in Southington. For Disla, Beyond Life is more than just an eclectic mix of art and fashion—it is also a way for her to give back to people in need.
Through her new business, Disla said she will raise funds for mission trips to bring physical, spiritual and medical relief to the poor in the Dominican Republic.
“Before I started my shop, I had a desire to help the needy, to help more unfortunate people,” Disla said. “I have always had the desire to help people who do not have the same as we do.”
Disla has traveled on at least six mission trips with doctors and other missionaries, serving as a translator and spiritual counselor. She also participates in art, crafts and Bible study workshops for children. A parishioner of New Life Fellowship Church in Plainville, Disla has partnered up with FaithCare, Inc., which consists of a group of doctors who volunteer there time to travel to the Dominican Republic.
Between seeing a lack of access to food, water and clothes and seeing people die from illnesses because they could not afford medical treatment, Disla said she realized that she needed to provided more than spiritual needs. Her next mission trip will take place next June.
“It needed more than just going down there temporarily—it was an ongoing thing,” said Disla, who is from the Dominican Republic. “It was very touching, and it broke my heart to see that happening.”
Upon returning from her first mission trip, Disla told her clients about what she experienced, and they have helped in the best way they could by giving donations like clothes, and other necessities. When not on a mission trip, Disla ships boxes of donations, including clothes, school supplies, food, medicine and other miscellaneous items. Through the establishment of her store, Disla hopes to focus on her mission trip even more, with the hope of helping more people in need.
“I cannot express to you how they are so grateful for everything they have received,” said Disla, who received approval this past June from the landlord of the adjoining portion of her business. “They even say constantly, that they never have experienced someone that cared and loved them the way that we have loved them.”
Disla recalled how during her last trip this past June, a seven-year-old boy from the village she stayed in touched her heart through his way of saying thank you. Among 100 other children, the little boy stood up with a t-shirt Disla gave him saying, “You did not have to do it, but you did—I just want to say thank you.”
“That really touched me, because it was such a simple t-shirt, worn by someone else,” Disla said.
Filled with vibrant, bold colors, Beyond Life contains a variety of vintage pieces, some of which Disla found at antique shows and auctions. When customers walk in, she greets them with a cup of tea to make them feel comfortable. Disla said she hopes customers will come to her boutique with an open mind and an open heart.
“This is not for me at all—this is to try and help people out in so many different ways,” Disla said. “Just by being a client, you can be a part of the mission.”
Dennis Keis, an accomplished master engraver, helped Disla paint the walls with different colors, and worked on the sign above the entrance.
Keis said he hopes the support of the community through Disla’s new store will help her mission work grow.
“I want to see this establish something over there that will be durable and long-lasting,” said Keis who met Disla through their church. “There are so many needs over there, and on a small scale, it is really hard to meet those needs.”
Beyond Life Boutique is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 12-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.