Glamour Gals organization gives makeovers to the elderly

Maija Anstine

GlamourGals, a student-run volunteer organization that provides makeovers and manicures to women in senior homes, will have their first makeover session Nov. 12.

GlamourGals is a national non-profit organization, founded in 2000 by Rachel Doyle. There are chapters in high schools and colleges around the country, but the Lawrence University chapter will be the first GlamourGals in Wisconsin.

“GlamourGals is not only about the fresh coat of nail polish, but also about the conversation shared between the volunteer and resident,” said sophomore Tammy Tran, who has worked with Lawrence’s Volunteer and Community Service Center over the last several months to establish a Lawrence GlamourGals chapter. “By bridging that intergenerational gap, residents feel appreciated and beautiful while volunteers leave knowing that they’ve made a difference in someone else’s day.”

GlamourGals will visit Brewster Village Senior Home in particular, but Tran hopes the organization will expand to other locations in the future.

“I think Lawrentians are always eager to give back to the community, but with busy schedules, it’s sometimes hard to,” said Tran. GlamourGals will offer a low-commitment opportunity for interested Lawrentians to give back. There will be two trips per month, and each trip will last only an hour. Additionally, transportation will be provided, both to and from the senior home.

The 2011 Fox Cities LIFE study identified “care for elderly and personals with a disability,” as a particular weakness of the area, according to Tran.

She said, “Oftentimes, senior home residents don’t have a lot of visitors on a day to day basis. They can go for days without anyone asking ‘How are you?’ and really meaning it. And for many of these women, it may have been a while since someone told them they were beautiful — on the inside and out.”

Director of Volunteer and Community Service Programs Kristi Hill is “especially excited” for the reciprocity that GlamourGals promises: “The elderly have the knowledge and the wisdom and tend to want to share their stories. College students are going through a particularly developmental time and could benefit from the wisdom of elders.”

Tran encouraged interested students to come to the first GlamourGals meeting, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. in the volunteer center, or to e-mail her.

Said Tran, “I think it takes a lot of courage and compassion to take an hour out of your weekend to give back. That hour will mean the world to someone else. It’s a really beautiful thing to be able to touch someone else’s life and make it known that they are beautiful and that they really do matter.”

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