Beauty Night and the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Comments 4 by Rebecca Bollwitt

In just over a week I’ll be attending the 26th annual Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and I was very pleased to see that Caroline MacGillivray, Founder and President of Beauty Night was on the list of this year’s distinguished nominees for Community Building.

This past January I interviewed Caroline about her work with Beauty Night and she described how the program got started. “My best friend from theatre school wrote a script and asked me to play a young suburban girl’s transition to a DTES survival sex worker dealing with addiction. I volunteered at a shelter for research. One night I did one of the ladies hair, makeup and nails because I wanted to see her eyes light up the way little kids do when they see Santa. They did and I started wondering if this could be done for other women.”

Beauty Night now runs out of Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto offering events and services for women multiple times a month that include dance, yoga, makeovers, journal sessions and movie nights. Caroline noted, “One third of our clients are seniors, one third is survival sex workers, and the last third is mothers and youth. Many of our clients deal with issues such as poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental ill health, illness – HIV, Hep C. Most of our clients have deal with violence against women.” Beauty Night’s impact is immeasurable when it comes to the health, self-esteem, pride, happiness and well-being of these women. If you’d like to lend a hand you can donate online and they are always in need of beauty products, as well as fitness and writing supplies, and volunteers. You can read the Beauty Night blog or follow Caroline on Twitter for updates.

You can read through all the nominees for the 2009 Women of Distinction Awards on the YWCA’s website which also include fellow blogger, Glenda Watson Hyatt.

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4 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. MegMonday, May 25th, 2009 — 9:41am PDT

    We were just chatting about a low-income and at-risk single mom’s retreat that I was a part of from the mid-90’s to 2005. We’d host a spa night at each one, and do haircuts, colour, makeup, massage, manis, pedis, facials, etc. They LOVED it.

    It was such an amazing thing to give women that experience when they’d never have had the time or money otherwise to do it for themselves. We also coordinated donations with organizations like Caudalie to send the women home with fantastic product. One year, Caudalie and DuWop donated over $50 K in product so they could have some fantastic stuff just for them. It blew my mind. As one woman said, “I think I’ve used baby lotion on my face since I had kids, no matter how my skin was. Using actual products is unreal.”

    One thing that stands out to me from the whole experience was how powerful touch is. There are so many kinds of inappropriate touch that we experience as women, and women who have been in risk situations (like the people that Caroline cares for) have faced it to extremes that most of us don’t even understand. Just the opportunity to nurture them was so rewarding to me a zillionfold, and we’d all end up in tears half the time. But happy ones!

    So yay, Caroline! Awesome, awesome, awesome thing you’re doing.

  2. Vincent NgMonday, May 25th, 2009 — 10:13am PDT

    I think that night should be fantastic. I’ve met some people in the past that were either nominated and one person that did win the award one year. I think it’s absolutely amazing to hear their stories, and to see so much go on in our city. The good that people do to help each other.
    I interned for Stephanie Tait for a while who now is running across North America to promote being green.

    I’ll be volunteering there that night, so I know Caroline and the other nominees will no doubt lift and inspire many souls that night.

  3. carolineMonday, May 25th, 2009 — 2:40pm PDT

    Thank you so much for writing about myself and Beauty Night. I am looking forward to the awards too. It is an inspiring evening and I love meeting so many women who do such fantastic things in so many capacities. It is exciting to be included among the nominees.

    This event is also a fund raiser for the YWCA. I believe they are a fantastic organization that makes a huge impact on the community. Rebecca, I can not wait to see you at the event. IF anyone is interested in attending, it is a worthwhile and enjoyable event.

  4. carolineMonday, May 25th, 2009 — 2:45pm PDT

    Thank you, Meg! I love what we do and am lucky that we have had so many amazing volunteers that work together to put the Beauty Night makeover program a reality.

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