Paying It Forward: Using Your Powers for Good!

Having a specialized skill such as makeup, nails, hair styling, or skincare, broadens your options when it comes to donating your time.  There are hundreds of thousands of charitable organizations throughout the country that need volunteers, but if you’re looking for some way to donate your professional time and/or products, then here are some ideas!

Every day, beauty professionals wield their magic through not only brushes, paints, and shears, but with genuine compliments, expert listening skills, sincerity, and of course, talent.  We have an opportunity to make an impact on our clients — their self-esteem — for a moment or for a lifetime.  Today, let’s talk about ways you can reach out further than the paying client and spread that magic to others who may be in need. 


Youth Group Homes & Foster Families

If you’re interested in working with adolescents, pre-teens, and teenagers, reaching out to some group homes, juvenile correctional facilities, and therapeutic boarding schools may be a great option.  Here in Michigan, there are a number of residential treatment programs for troubled youth that may be interested in offering hair styling, skin care advice, simple nail treatments, and maybe even basic makeup as either a service or a reward to program participants.  Reach out to your local foster care agency or call 1-855-MICHKIDS to see if there are on-location services you could offer to kids placed in foster care.  You may even consider offering lessons for girls who are interested in making the beauty industry a career choice.  If you’re interested in working with incarcerated youth, you might contact the Michigan Juvenile Detention Association or Corrections Administration at the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Here are a few therapeutic boarding schools and residential programs for girls:

Vista Maria
Livingston Family Center
Eagle Village

Empowerment Organizations

Reaching out to local domestic violence shelters and other programs that service women and men in crisis is also a great route if you’d like to donate beauty/grooming services.  You can focus on simple private lessons and boosting self-esteem or you can participate in a larger job-preparation program.  Helping these individuals build confidence is key in these programs and helping to prepare them for interviews gives them the tools they need to create their own independence.  Some well-known programs are:  Dress for Success (services women) and CareerGear (services men). 

MMA Student Charmell Crowder volunteers her time at the Karmanos center.

Medical Centers

There are many, many programs that service men and women who are either living with or have survived serious medical ailments such as cancer.  Often, you can volunteer beauty services to these programs.  Multimedia Makeup Academy’s students participate in a program like this with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute!  Reach out to a local center and see if there is a need for a service like this.  A similar program is Look Good, Feel Better, which offers comprehensive resources to patients dealing with the physical side effects of cancer for both women and men, as well as teens.  

General Fundraiser

If you like the idea of volunteering time, but also really like working in your own environment, why not organize a personal fundraiser?  You could put together a special deal for new and existing clients and donate all of the profits to the charity of your choice.  This is the time of year to get something like that going, when people are attending holiday parties and galas AND may be a little more motivated by their money going to charity.


Donate Product

Do you have a hoard of gently used or unopened makeup or other toiletries?  You can donate them!  Organizations like Project Beauty Share, The Beauty Bus Foundation, and Share Your Beauty all accept gently used cosmetics and toiletries and either share them directly with individuals in crisis or use them in the services they provide to others in need.  You can contact a local women’s shelter and talk to someone about donating items, as well.

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