It was midday, and the Art Room at the Isaacs Center was buzzing. Older Adult Center members sat on one side of a long table draped in hot pink, and on the other side, college students in hot-pink shirts were giving them manicures.
The conversations flowed in English and Spanish as the young women gently cleaned, shaped, buffed and painted nails. And while getting a makeover is nice, Rachel Doyle Boyens, the Founder and CEO of GlamourGals Foundation, said the personal connection is just as important.
“The makeup is a tool for conversation: If you have nothing else to say, what color would you like your nails painted? What color blush would you like?” she explained. “It always starts a little quiet, but then you get this incredible energy in the room.”
Manicures also involve gentle and safe physical contact—something that’s been harder to come by since the beginning of the pandemic.
Doyle launched GlamourGals Foundation in 2000 when she was still a junior in high school. She wanted to pay tribute to her late grandmother, and she decided makeovers would be a way to do something fun for older adults in nursing homes and senior centers.
“I thought, how great would you feel if someone took the time to make you look and feel beautiful and take a picture with you and spend some time to make you feel special? GlamourGals was born out of that idea.”
It seemed to be working—as our Older Adult Center members admired each other’s nails, praised their color choices, and posed for photos.
“Our members have fun talking to the volunteers,” said Older Adult Center Director Jemma Marens. “And they definitely enjoy a little pampering!”