Cosmetology student Lindsey Vice gives veteran Taiyan Hamilton a facial in the South Campus spa classroom. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Cosmetology students provide free salon and spa services to local veterans
Andrea Vasquez-- December 19, 2012
HOUSTON – The holidays bring out the spirit of giving for many people in the community, and the San Jacinto College cosmetology students are no exception. Students used their skills and talents to provide local military veterans with free haircuts and a day of pampering.
Cosmetology students from the San Jacinto College South Campus visited veterans at DeGeorge at Union Station, a housing facility for homeless veterans, giving residents free haircuts. One by one residents lined up for their free haircuts, even 55-year-old Sandy Harford, a military dependent living at DeGeorge. “This is even more than what I wanted,” smiled Harford admiring her new hairstyle in a mirror. “It’s just a little thing, but it means so much to have them volunteer their time and do this for us. I feel blessed. It just makes me feel special and wanted- knowing that people car enough to do things like this.”
Student Karla Flores, who cut and styled Harford’s hair, enjoyed seeing all the smiles throughout the day. “I like volunteering for these events, not just because it’s the holiday season, but because we get to make them feel beautiful in our own way to give back,” said Flores.
“We enjoy our new haircuts, but most of us just enjoy seeing new faces,” said Navy veteran Michael McDoneld. “It’s nice to talk to new people that come in and share stories with them.”
This event was just one of the opportunities students had for the service learning portion of their curriculum for the year. Many instructors incorporate service learning into their curriculum since it gives students the chance to practice skills, techniques, and other learning concepts and apply them in real-life settings outside the classroom.
Students also helped organized a “Day of Beauty” for a local female veterans organization through the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. The ladies were invited to the South Campus salon where cosmetology students provided such salon and spa services as shampoo, cut, style, blow-dry, facial, and manicure. After receiving their salon and spa treatments, students provided them with a dress-for-success interview outfit and toiletries donated by local salons and beauty supply vendors.
Student instructor, Rhonda Wheeler, the primary organizer of the event, felt honored to be able to provide a day of pampering for the veterans while showing the students another side to the industry. “I’m always eager to learn different ways of showing students that this really is a feel-good industry,” said Wheeler. “This is my way to give back. Students not only get to use their skills on actual clients, but they get to see first-hand the need that is out there for cosmetology services.”
“It’s a wonderful thing to have the time to relax and feel feminine,” said Air Force veteran, Taiyan Hamilton. “Being in the military, you don’t get many opportunities to really get pampered or be really feminine. You wear a uniform every day, and if you’re in the field, a lot of times, you’re in there getting just as dirty as the guys, so an event like this is definitely a treat. Hamilton also commented that she’s looking into enrolling in the San Jacinto College cosmetology program. After the military, Hamilton worked as a sports therapist, working with for the National Football League (NFL) teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. Now she’s looking into a career in esthetics, which would allow her to provide clients with more relaxing, therapeutic experiences, rather than the hustle, and sometimes painful, physical therapy of sports medicine.
For cosmetology student Lindsey Vice, providing beauty services for the “Day of Beauty” event for female veterans was a heart-warming experience. “It really is a good feeling knowing you helped someone when they need it,” said Vice. “Giving them that little boost of confidence they needed or that smile they probably haven’t had for a while is definitely worth it, and I will definitely continue to volunteer for events like this even after I finish at San Jac.”
Houston area U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Coordinator, Keisha Plowden, was one of the VA liaisons working with the San Jacinto College South Campus cosmetology department. Witnessing the overall joy and appreciation from both students and veterans only reinforced her feelings about her work with the VA. “Events like these are very empowering for these veterans,” noted Plowden. “It lets them know that they are at the forefront of the community’s mind. A lot of them don’t have a means of transportation, so we always enjoy taking the time to provide them with transportation to events like these where it’s all about making them smile, feel confident, and boosting their self-esteem. They deal with so much in their every-day lives, so having San Jacinto College students and faculty set aside time to organize events like these really lets them know that their community cares.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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