Calhoun High School junior Sarah Sandler has volunteered for several years at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, where she has met people of many different cultures and ages. This year, she said, she connected with the senior citizen population in a new way.
She recalls conversations with a nursing home resident from Puerto Rico. She also remembers being impressed by another resident who told her she had performed at Carnegie Hall. The conversations, she said, were made possible by Glamour Gals, the national nonprofit organization that encourages teenagers to provide companionship and complimentary makeovers to women living in senior homes.
“It opens your eyes up to a whole other generation who had interesting experiences,” Sandler said. “When you’re really sitting down, doing their makeup and nails, you learn a lot.”
Sandler founded a Glamour Gals chapter at Calhoun this year after being inspired by the charity’s mission to foster self-esteem and mutual respect between two generations. Twenty Calhoun students have visited local nursing homes, where they have developed relationships with older women through makeovers, manicures and conversation.
Sandler first heard about Glamour Gals last year, at a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership conference. When she began researching the organization, she discovered that its founder, Rachel Doyle, was also a Long Island native, from Commack.
“It just really stood out,” Sandler said of the organization. “It sounded like a fun thing to do while learning a lot about a lot of different people.”
Doyle established the first Glamour Gals chapter when she was a high school junior in 2000. There are now chapters around the country, each with at least 10 members, which benefit their communities with tens of thousands of volunteer service hours.
The Calhoun volunteers gave makeovers to women at the Belair Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Bellmore in January. and spent time with the residents of Sunrise Senior Living in East Meadow in March.