Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit a shelter in the heart of the Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It was Beauty Night at the Women’s Centre in the First United Church and I was giving women of the DTES manicures.
I guess it was a bit surreal as I felt like I had been watching that new Netflix hit ‘Orange is the New Black’. By that I mean women had their little cliques and were so grateful for the little that came their way such as the dessert treat that they wrapped up into a paper towel for later or the little gift bag with travel size shampoo and conditioner they received. And then it got real - a woman came in with a glass shard in her foot and another bitterly reacted when a volunteer complimented her nails (she apologized in the end).
As I painted their nails (my best manicure effort to this day), I overheard them talking about their dating and family lives reminding me that we are all the same. We all have the same daily routines, cognitive thought processes and the need to nurture our relationships. I was reminded of how truly blessed and fortunate I am for everything I have and the opportunity I have to work for what I want. It was a grounding experience for me.
Towards the end of our volunteer shift the room to the beds were opened. Women walked into the room with all they had in their arms and laid themselves on a bed for the night. And some went back out into the neighborhood. This was my second week volunteering with Beauty Night. They provide these services to women 3-4 days every week at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland.
If you would like to volunteer with Beauty Night visit their website at www.beautynight.org or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org