I spend a lot of my days visiting nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
Sadly, one thing I rarely see is younger generations interacting with seniors. On the contrary, it seems that these days young adults are becoming more and more wrapped up in their own busy lives, and becoming less involved with needs of older generations.
So when I learned about Glamour Gals, a youthful group of volunteers that are making efforts to improve the lives of seniors in their communities, I couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised and very much inspired!
Members of the Glamour Gals Foundation, a national and growing not-for-profit organization, make weekly visits to nursing homes, senior centers, and assisted-living facilities to provide complimentary beauty makeovers and manicures to senior residents. The Glamour Gals, comprised mostly of high school and college-aged volunteers, hold the mission “to create smiles than span generations.” Through their visits, they hope to connect the lives of younger and older adults who do not normally interact in our society, and form a bond between them through a simple act of kindness.
Rachel Doyle, the founder and president of Glamour Gals, started this organization over a decade ago when she was only seventeen years old. Determined to make a difference in the world from a young age, Rachel began to volunteer with a few friends from her high school at a local nursing home. Today, Glamour Gals has expanded to contain over 1,400 volunteers from 80 different chapters in high schools and universities all across the nation!
Beauty parlors are set up by the each chapter’s volunteers, and both women and men at senior centers are invited to join the volunteering chapter. They may receive free manicures, hand massages, or makeovers, or simply join in for some company and story-telling. At the end of each makeover, visitors may take a Polaroid picture with their new young friend and keep it as a souvenir. Glamour Gals volunteers often develop incredible relationships with residents.
The small touch of blush or nail polish often brings strength and laughter to older residents, helping them return to the memories of younger days by being shown that they are still gorgeous and glamorous and haven’t lost their touch. In exchange, seniors share stories and wisdom with the young volunteers.
Members of Glamour Gals across the nation communicate amongst themselves through an advanced web-based network that allows them to share journals, blogs, and pictures from makeover sessions all over the country. A few times a year, they come together for events in NYC where they continue to share their experiences and inspire one another to become the next leaders of our future.
In our modern world of smart phones and digital cameras, it is nice to see that we can still find room for some old fashioned generosity. Congratulations to Glamour Girls everywhere for their contributions!