Getting pampered can provide fresh confidence.
Meridian Cosmetology students were able to do just that for clients from Wings of Hope recently. Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center provides shelter and other services for victims of domestic violence.
“Some of the women and children who arrive at our shelter have suitcases full of belongings. Some of them have the clothes on their backs,” said Brandi White, Executive Director at Wings of Hope.
In June, staff from Wings of Hope came to speak with Meridian Cosmetology students about recognizing signs of domestic violence in their clients.
Audrey Poston, Evening Cosmetology Instructor, explained that it is not the responsibility of the cosmetologist to address domestic violence directly but to be aware and make their client feel comfortable.
“The role is to create a safe space,” Poston said. “You can’t change their environment, but you can allow them to open up if they’re ready and give them support.”
The clients from Wings of Hope spent the evening getting pampered through manicures, pedicures, facials and haircuts, colors and treatments. Several clients also brought their children.
“It feels good to have the skills to give back to make people feel good and look better if they’re not in the most opportune situations,” said Devin Skinner, Cosmetology student. “They get to leave here with a whole new outlook and self-confidence boost.”
This event posed some unique challenges due to the sensitive nature of these clients situations.
The students worked with their instructor to come up with conversation topics that allowed the clients privacy while making them feel comfortable and letting them enjoy their time in the salon.
“We’re able to affect somebody’s day,” Cosmetology student, David Haygood, said. “Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, for an hour or two, we get to let people not think about what they’re going through.”
Wings of Hope empowers their clients to have the skills they need to thrive on their own. One of the tools they need is confidence in themselves. White said that sometimes what their clients need is “to just feel human again, to feel cared for, to feel special.”
One client from Wings of Hope was looking forward to bold new hair color.
“It makes you feel better about yourself,” the client said. “It helps you with how you feel about walking out and going somewhere. It’s a way to better yourself.”
The clients walked away with new looks, but Poston hopes her students were able to give them more than that. She hopes they feel special and empowered.
“I hope they remember they are important, and it is important to take care of and prioritize themselves,” Poston said. “They are beautiful inside and out, and we are here for them if they ever need anything.”