Helping clients refine or renew their style is rewarding for any cosmetologist, but the students at the Regency Beauty Institute campus in Lakewood, CO, have taken it one step further. Every two weeks since July, the cosmetology students have given free services to homeless women and their children among other clients through a partnership with the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America.
Volunteers of America (VOA) serves the elderly, the homeless, people with disabilities, at-risk youth and women and their children escaping domestic violence.
“This collaboration with Regency can impact people at multiple points in the continuum, being newly homeless to being housed in a transitional program or even longer term in our family housing program,” said Amanda W., Brandon Center Project Manager and one of the VOA partnership coordinators. “It makes a big impact.”
Services offered include haircuts, styling services, manicures and pedicures. Many of the clients can’t remember their last trim, and others can’t wait to experience a pedicure for the first time.
Coralie S., Regency Beauty-Lakewood performance floor manager, said the partnership with the VOA-run Brandon Center began as a way to allow the students to give back to their local community while continuing to hone their cosmetology skills.
“Providing services to [VOA] clients has been an amazing opportunity for the students to grow technically and personally,” Coralie said. “Outreach like this keeps you real and keeps you humble in this world. It really puts the students in a good place. This is a giving industry.”
On the mornings when the VOA clients receive services, chatter and laughter fill the campus. Clients have ranged in age from 10 to mid-‘50s. Some of the women are so overwhelmed, a few tears slip down their smiling cheeks.
“We are day-makers,” Coralie said. “These women are so appreciative; it truly gives the students an opportunity to impact the local community.”
Amanda said the services offer a chance for respite when the women have been living in crisis and the confidence boost from a haircut, hair style or nail care can also help the clients with the job search process.
Student Anna E. said she could feel her client’s mood change and brighten throughout her appointment, and student Sarah L.’s guest couldn’t stop smiling. Sarah is an active volunteer and described her first experience working with the VOA clients as “rewarding.”
“If someone doesn’t have the funds to go and get a manicure and a pedicure, it’s really nice knowing that we can give back, and they can have a really good time, even if it’s just for a few hours,” Sarah said.