Photo by Ken Villeneuve.
After 12 years of providing beauty services, life skills development and health services for women in Vancouver’s inner city, Beauty Night Society is expanding operations to include monthly events in Surrey, Burnaby and New Westminster.
“As we’re finding some of the women that we work with are housed in other areas, we want to make sure we’re able to connect with community partnerships in those areas so we can better serve the women,” said Caroline MacGillivray, Beauty Night founder and executive director.
MacGillivray said requests for expansion have been coming for over a decade, and many of the women attending the four weekly Vancouver events are coming from the suburbs via Skytrain. But it wasn’t until Beauty Night Society won the J.W. McConnell Foundation’s BC Ideas National Impact Investment Award last year, which includes a $15,000 prize, that they had the capital to expand.
Now events will be happening the first Wednesday of every month at the Maxine Wright Health Care Centre in Surrey, and the second Thursday of every month at Elizabeth Fry in New Westminster. Burnaby has several locations and no fixed monthly date yet, but the first events will be happening February 28.
But although overhead costs are small, volunteers are still needed, especially hairdressers and healthcare professionals. MacGillivray said they’re the backbone of the organization—over 500 volunteers have participated in 12 years—and they get as much out of the experience as the women they help.
“It’s a way of bringing community together, creating inclusive communities, and when people feel they’re part of something, when they feel there’s something to who they are, it gives them hope, and when people have hope they start believing that other types of change are possible,” she said.