Last fall I heard of an amazing initiative called Beauty Night. It is an event that has been taking place in several cities across Canada for the last few years with a goal to bring women together for a bit of a boost through makeover sessions, book clubs, yoga classes, movie nights, and more.
I recently contacted organizer Caroline MacGillivray (recipient of the 2002 Flare Volunteer Award, among other noble achievements) who was kind enough to answer some questions so that I could share more information with my readers about Beauty Night; “Because dignity is beautiful”.
How did it start?
My best friend from theatre school wrote a script and asked me to play a young suburban girl’s transition to a DTES survival sex worker dealing with addiction. I volunteered at a shelter for research. One night I did one of the ladies hair, makeup and nails because I wanted to see her eyes light up the way little kids do when they see Santa. They did and I started wondering if this could be done for other women.
Who can benefit/Who are the clients in general?
It is win/win for everyone. The entire community benefits. We work in conjunction with agencies and NGOs that provide addiction, mental ill health, and violence against women support. We are able to work together to make a difference in the lives of many. Our volunteers empower the women and themselves by sharing their gifts (skills) with the clients. The programs bridge the gap between different areas of society. I believe this creates a synergy for us to make a positive impact by breaking down barriers and working together.
One third of our clients are seniors, one third is survival sex workers, and the last third is mothers and youth. Many of our clients deal with issues such as poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental ill health, illness – HIV, Hep C. Most of our clients have deal with violence against women.
Who can help?
Everyone. Each of us — to paraphrase Nelson Mandela or Marianne Williamson — have gifts. I like to think of beauty night as a vessel for people to share those gifts. By sharing, they inspire and heal others and themselves.
Beauty industry professionals and medical professionals are the staple of our programming. We have volunteers for fitness, media, and literacy. We do need help with our media, fundraising and website.
We do need volunteers to facilitate events in Vancouver, Toronto and Prince George.
How can others contribute?
They can donate online — if they go to CanadaHelps they can donate to Beauty Night. We are a registered charity so we can issue tax receipts for monetary donations.
What services or products can be donated?
Beauty products – mascara wands, nail files, barbacide are most needed.
Storage space, fitness equipment like jump ropes, twist products, etc. Journals for the literacy program. Printing – brochures, posters, business cards, etc. Hair dressing, grant proposal writing, yoga instructors.
Check out the Beauty Night website to learn about upcoming events in your community or to contact Caroline about how you can assist with these programs.