Vanessa Howard was a homeless, single mother of three two decades ago, before a landlord took a chance on the Tampa native and gave her a place to stay. Once back on her feet, she founded a salon called Giving Hands and Howard has since dedicated one day a month to making over homeless women to help them land jobs.
For the fourth year in a row, she’s dedicating August’s free makeover day to homeless girls heading back to school.
Dubbed the “Back-to-School Princess Party,” Howard told local news station WFTS Wednesday that she, along with her now-five daughters and volunteers, provide hairstyles, nail services and lunch.
In a Facebook post, Howard explained that the salon also provides the eight children participating in the day with uniforms, shoes and school supplies.
“We make sure when they go back to school, they are confident and they are ready,” Howard told WFTS.
Howard posted to Facebook that Giving Hands is still looking for volunteers to participate in Sunday’s “Back-to-School Princess Party.” Interested folks can also donate to the salon’s monthly makeovers for the homeless by calling Giving Hands directly.
Over the years, Howard said her salon had helped at least 275 homeless women and girls. In an interview with CBS News Thursday, Howard noted how her past experiences inform her work today.
“I’m looking to help restore women,” she said. “I’m looking to help restore children, because, again, that pain is a part of my purpose.”