The Cinnaminson Chapter: Our First Makeover


The Cinnaminson Chapter: Our First Makeover February 13, 2014

On Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, a storm hit the East Coast with snow, sleet and freezing rain. Flights were cancelled, traffic was stalled, but the Cinnaminson High School GlamourGals chapter, based in Cinnaminson, NJ, still hosted their first makeover at Riverview Estates assisted living.

The chapter president, 17-year-old Carolyn Bresnahan, rushed to the senior home to make sure everything was all set up. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but she had planned the day with the activities director at Riverview Estates. Soon enough, the volunteers from the rest of her chapter were there, eagerly waiting to paint the nails and give makeovers to the elderly women. At first, things got off to a funny start. One of the employees of the senior home thought the girls were singers.

“She said, ‘We have a couple of women who are interested in seeing you guys. Aren’t you putting on a show?’” said Carolyn, who’s a junior at Cinnaminson.

Carolyn explained that they were in fact giving makeovers and manicures.

“I was like, “Oh my God, this is going to be awful, nobody wants their makeovers done,’” Carolyn said, laughing about it now.

At the time, a lot of the seniors had just finished lunch, so once they were set up and ready, things started to flow and Carolyn and her co-president, Andi Odemjski, set up girls with seniors to give makeovers and manicures.

Carolyn and Andi, also 17 and a junior, were running around for most of the event, making sure everyone had enough nail polish and supplies for each makeover and manicure. Outside, snow was piling up, but the volunteers kept right along. They spread out in several rooms in the senior home, and some even went in pairs to give makeovers to women who wanted to stay in their rooms.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, Andi noticed a woman, named Sue, off to the side who had gotten her nails done and was sitting alone.

“I started talking to her and I was like, ‘Do you want me to put some lipstick on you or any face makeup?’” Andi said. “And she goes, ‘Ok, just a little bit.’”

Andi stayed with her, applying lipstick and striking up a conversation. Carolyn joined her and Sue told them how pretty they made her feel.

“My husband isn’t even going to recognize me later!” Sue told them.

It was Carolyn and Andi’s most memorable moment.

Meanwhile, a volunteer named Kim Lanholm was giving a manicure to a senior named Pat. It turned out that Pat’s daughter was supposed to fly in to see her that day, but couldn’t make it due to the storm. As they chatted, Pat had a huge smile on her face.

When the girls were leaving, Kim hugged Pat goodbye and told her GlamourGals would be back next month.

“Her face lit up,” Kim wrote in her journal entry, later that Sunday. “I will never forget Pat and how happy she was just to have some company. This has taught me just how much of a difference people can make. I can't wait to go back and make someone's day a little brighter. I'm sure they'll make mine a lot better too.”

When Carolyn read about Kim’s interaction with Pat, it made her even more excited and glad to be a part of GlamourGals. Hearing how Kim had made a difference in Pat’s day was so important to her.

“That can happen all the time,” Carolyn said. “The seniors are thinking somebody is going to come and then they get let down. They maybe have friends that are there, but they have nobody else to talk to. They might just sit in their room. It’s good to have a new face to come and for them to talk to somebody new. That’s why I love [the makeovers], for them to have something to look forward to.”

By the end, they had given manicures and makeovers to 20 different women. The activities director emailed them afterwards to tell Carolyn how glad she was that the GG chapter stopped by and how much the women at the home enjoyed it.

Afterwards, Carolyn was relieved. It was a big responsibility to get the event together, and for it to run smoothly - and successfully -  was a huge sense of accomplishment for her.

“The women were so excited about their manicures and were showing them off to each other, excited for us to come back,” she wrote in her journal entry later that day. “It warmed my heart and made me realize how amazing and special this club is.”

- Heather Furlow, Program Writing Associate

Rachel Doyle