Teresa with Santa

Since 2000, over 500 volunteers have donated their time, expertise, and hearts to provide over 16,000 life makeovers to women living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. On Monday, December 19, dozens more life makeovers will get underway as Beauty Night Society celebrates its 11th anniversary. I was lucky to have attended last year’s party, and I expect no less from the wonderful, caring women behind Beauty Night this year.

The celebration will include:

– Photos with Santa & Ms Claus
– 1,500 Xmas stockings designed by Nancy Perreault, sewn and decorated by high school and elementary school students. Filled by corporate (Carrie Wheeler Entertainment Group, AG Hair, London Drugs) and individual community members.
– Hair, makeup, nail and foot care services for women
– Kids activities

Beauty Night Society’s success is due to the tireless dedication and commitment of Caroline MacGillivray, who started the organization after an experience volunteering at a Downtown Eastside shelter in 2000.

“I noticed one of the clients was having a bad day; a young girl was struggling with a curling iron, almost in tears,” said MacGillivray. “I told her that I wasn’t a hairdresser, but was willing to try to help. She looked at me a little suspiciously at the beginning, but finally agreed. So the next thing I knew, this poor young lady and I ended up curling her hair one way, then the other, because I’m really not that good at hair. Then I ended up doing her makeup and her nails.”

From that single interaction, Caroline decided that giving women a reprieve from everyday life by offering life makeovers would help women feel appreciated and potentially inspire them to change their lives. Caroline believes that the success of the program is largely due to the benefits of loving touch. Women develop trust and understanding when they’re given Beauty Night makeovers.
The very first event Caroline held was attended by 73 women and 14 volunteers.

Today, the organization is also in operation in Prince George. “We are currently raising the resources so we can reach women and children in the DTES, Surrey, New West and Richmond,” says Caroline.  Events have also been held in Prince George, Toronto, and Victoria.

Caroline and her team will celebrate the organization’s accomplishments and host volunteers and supporters at an event on December 19, where women in need will gather to support one another and benefit from healing touch. “Thanks to the dedication and support of the community, we are able to run programming in Vancouver four nights per week.” The organization is proud to have a new location with more space to serve the growing needs of the immediate community.

“Over the past 11 years, our organization has captured the hearts and minds of the Vancouver area business and activist communities, which have fervently supported our cause,” said MacGillivray. “The passion for helping women change their lives – beginning with one touch – has grown in ways I never imagined thanks to the support of others, and I cannot wait to see what we will accomplish together in the decades to come.”
Beauty Night Society builds self-esteem and changes the lives of women living in poverty through three streams of programming: wellness, life skills development, and makeovers.

Beauty Night Society’s mandate is to provide the catalyst women need to change their lives by offering a gateway to health services – a moment where they forget about the stresses of living in poverty and find the courage to take action.

1 Comment

  • Pingback by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly at Boathouse | ariane c design — May 31, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    […] one of my friends and have seen her organization blossom over the years (Beauty Night recently celebrated 11 years in Vancouver). I was therefore happy to hear that each time one of the guests tweeted the […]

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