Beauty Connection

 

Women having their hair done at the beauty salonEvery Friday as long as I can remember, my grandmother went to the salon for her weekly beauty appointment. Monica, her beautician, would set Grandma’s hair and do her nails.

 

It was a ritual I had a hard time understanding growing up. We’d get a haircut maybe every six months, and it was always a simple cut.

 

Now, looking back, I understand that the appointment wasn’t about beauty or vanity. This ritual was about community and connection.

 

Grandma retired in her early 50s, meaning most of her friends were still in the workforce. When she moved to get closer to her only son and grandchildren, she moved away from those friends as they entered retirement. These weekly appointments gave her a chance to connect with people to form a community. They had something in common immediately – a desire to present themselves well in public. And the weekly frequency created another level of familiarity.

 

While we do not currently have a beauty salon on our Lake Waccamaw campus, we provide opportunities for community and connection here at Boys and Girls Homes. Through daily check-ins in the cottages, the children are invited to share their feelings and goals for the day. Each Residential Counselor works to provide less formal opportunities for connection through conversation, activities and meals.

 

There are weekly Bible studies that not only serve as an opportunity to deepen spiritual connections but also to grow in connection to each other.

 

Regular campus celebrations of progress through the GRACE program provide an additional opportunity for connection and community.

 

With most of our children attending the on-campus public charter school Thomas Academy, there is also the opportunity for community in classrooms.

 

The importance of community and connection on health and well-being has become a key component in numerous studies. In fact, community and social support is one of the factors found to support longevity in the research of Dan Buettner in his work “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.” Additional research on treating trauma like that experienced by the children served by B&GH emphasizes the importance of the strong support of community. After all, we have all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

 

So while the children of B&GH have the beauty of the campus at Lake Waccamaw to serve as the location of their geographic support community, my Grandmother found hers at a beauty salon in New Jersey. The beauty connection remains for both.

 

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

Learn more about the services at B&GH.

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