Valentina Czochanski, Chapter Co-President, Metuchen

This summer, we'll be spotlighting this year's Glammy Scholarship Award finalists. Today we hear from Valentina, co-president of the Metuchen chapter. (PS -we featured her twin sister Victoria last week!)

I’ve been painting my great aunt and grandma’s nails for as long as I can remember, so when I stumbled across the GlamourGals website I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. Everyone deserves a connection to their community, yet seniors living in homes aren’t guaranteed this access. I’m proud to say I am a part of the effort to change that. While the organization targets women, my chapter also works on appealing to men. My grandpa was 97 when he passed, but he lived with my family for the first 13 years of my life. I could listen to him tell stories for hours. I’ve often thought about how easily he could have ended up in a senior home just like the men and women who attend our events. These seniors are my neighbors and there’s so much to learn from them. It’s important to bridge the generation gap: important for them and for us. Our visits benefit me and my volunteers just as much as they benefit the seniors.

The most important thing that I’ve learned from this experience is that helping people is easier than it seems. I love being the one to be able to help the volunteers when they are having a hard time doing the makeovers and especially when they want help with a senior who they know is particularly unhappy or difficult to please. I know that I was able to help those unsure, shy, or unconfident girls when they end up stepping up and doing that same mentoring for their friends. But no matter how much I can help an individual volunteer, the goal is to be there for the seniors and I realize that the best thing I can do for the seniors is ensure that the visits will continue next year. I am confident that this year was the first of many glamorous years for the Metuchen chapter and I am proud to be a part of that.

There is nothing better than the feeling when you know that you’ve helped someone. There is one particular senior who comes to mind. An 86 year old man, Peter, who asked to try sparkly nail polish one day and who has been becoming more and more confident about it each time. He says it brightens his day when he sees his nails sparkle, but is always worried that he will be judged for it. He told me that I have helped him boost his confidence and that now he is proud to wave his glamorous nails for everyone a the senior home to see. Experiences like these have enlightened me to how much I enjoy helping to brighten someone’s day or making people smile or laugh. Regardless of which path I choose to take after college, I know that volunteering will always be a big part of my life.