April is National Volunteer Month, which reminds us of the importance of giving back. At Yahoo Beauty, we would like to highlight a few organizations that devote their energy to benefiting the lives of women:
Empowered girls grow into strong women! In its own words, Girls on the Run envisions “a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” GOTR completes this goal through a program that combines physical activities like running with lesson plans that encourage emotional development. Participants attend twice-weekly meetings where they are taught life skills in a fun, uplifting environment.
There is a 3rd-5th grade program and a 6th-8th grade program. The 3rd-5th program focuses on helping girls better understand who they are, what their values are, and how they can positively connect with the outside world. The 6th-8th program is grounded in the new “Heart & Sole” initiative, which helps girls tackle difficult middle school issues by practicing team building and building a strong support system. The name “Girls on the Run” comes from the connection between physical activity and self-empowerment, so both programs incorporate fun exercise within the lesson plans. At the end of every season, the girls participate in a 5K to celebrate how far they have come, emotionally and physically.
How can you help if you are an adult? GOTR functions via the help of local “councils” that are powered by volunteers. As a volunteer, you can take on the role of coach and be an integral part of the developmental experience, working alongside the Girls on the Run staff in weekly meetings. Additionally, you can choose to be a running buddy and cheerleader at the end-of-season 5K. On a larger scale, corporate sponsors include Athleta and Cigna, among other notable brands. Personal monetary donations are also accepted. Since its inception in 1996, GOTR has expanded nationwide, to more than 200 councils in all 50 states. Find your local Girls on the Run council today and explore how you can help shape young girls into future leaders.
When we look our best, we feel our best, and our potential for success improves. The mission of Dress for Success is to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” The ultimate goal of DFS is to break the cycle of poverty altogether. With a professional appearance and career toolkit, women can bust through societal limitations and set new standards for female success in the workplace.
Dress for Success is a three-part program. First comes suiting, in which the participant gets the professional attire she needs to feel confident while interviewing. Though clothing makes a positive impact, it is not the be all and end all of the program. In its own words, DFS explains “we are about much more than simply a new outfit.” With the right clothing in place, the participant then moves on to the career center and job training, which further improve her chances of securing a stable position at a reputable company in the future. The format of the career center and job training varies depending on location. Check out your local Dress for Success affiliate for more information. If you don’t have a location near you, you can start your own!
You can help DFS with its mission of female empowerment in several ways. Its donation drives are a great place to start. These drives accept a variety of clothing, including new or nearly new suits, other business-appropriate attire, shoes, accessories like handbags, and jewelry. Once you contact your local affiliate, a DFS representative can give you a better idea of what items are most needed by participants. Apart from donation drives, you can also volunteer directly with your local DFS affiliate and/or attend events to support the organization at large. Past events include 5Ks and speaker sessions. Volunteer programs and events vary depending on location, so check in with your local affiliate for more information on how you can help in your area. Monetary donations are also accepted.
3. Beauty Bus
When life takes a tragic turn, a small act of kindness can make a big difference. Beauty Bus provides makeup, grooming products, and pampering services to terminally ill men and women. Its core service is free in-home grooming and beauty treatments. Additionally, it coordinates pop-up salons for patients and caregivers, providing relaxation on the go. As an added gift, it provides “bags of beauty” filled with a variety of products for patients and caregivers to enjoy. There are no age requirements for Beauty Bus. The youngest client it has served was 3 and the oldest was 101!
Do you have leftover makeup lying around that you don’t use? Beauty Bus is happy to take donations for beauty bags from all over the country! It needs hair products, makeup, manicure products, pedicure products, and facial products. With your donation, it will provide a letter for tax purposes. You can ship your products directly to Beauty Bus headquarters:
Beauty Bus Foundation
2716 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 1062
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Beauty Bus is based out of Los Angeles. If you are a beauty professional in that area, the organization would love to have you hop onboard the bus and provide treatments to clients. If you don’t work in the beauty industry, you can also tag along on visits and spread cheer in person. Outside of L.A., you can serve as a Beauty Ambassador, spreading awareness of Beauty Bus via fundraisers and product drives. Social media support is always appreciated too!
4. Local women’s shelter
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to help women in your community, donate goods to your local women’s shelter. These facilities are always looking for toiletries and beauty products, among other necessities. Take a look at this women’s shelter directory to find a shelter near you.
As listed in a helpful article from Little Things, here are some donation items that can make a big difference at a women’s shelter:
- Nail polish
- Art materials
- Feminine hygiene products
- Transportation passes
- Cosmetics/beauty products
Keeping these organizations in mind, we can make a big difference in the lives of women in our country, during April and beyond. Happy National Volunteer Month!
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