Rachel hit bottom. She was no longer taking care of her children or talking to her family. "I was pretty much living on the streets doing things I never imagined I would be doing ... stealing, lying," she said. "I hated myself and was absolutely miserable. I wanted to die." Her parents frantically searched the streets of Flint, Michigan, looking for their daughter, hoping to find her so they could plead with her to come home and get help. Rachel, who chose not to disclose her last name, says, "Seeing them react to how bad I looked when they found me and hearing them say how much my kids needed a mom made me realize that there were still people who loved me." That was the moment Rachel knew she needed to turn her life around and, as she says, be the "woman and mother God intended [her] to be."
Rachel's family took her to Grace Centers of Hope, the largest and oldest faith-based outreach shelter for homeless and disadvantaged individuals and families based in Pontiac, Michigan. Grace Centers of Hope provides a full recovery and rehabilitation campus for homeless men, women and children who have been abused or addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Dr. Kent Clark runs the center with the help of his wife Dr. Pam Clark. They first reached out to GLAM4GOOD four years ago to help the shelter stage a fashion show for their annual fundraiser. Dr. Clark believed it would be important to include the women living at the shelter alongside the professional models in the fashion show. "I knew that participating in the GLAM4GOOD experience would give the Grace Centers of Hope women the chance to feel beautiful. These women are working to change on the inside, and now have the opportunity to see this new, beautiful woman reflected on the outside," he said. "The GLAM4GOOD makeover presents a one-of-a-kind experience for women, like Rachel, who have faced many challenges in life. This makeover gives these women more confidence in themselves and the opportunity to see all the people who care for them and are rooting for their success."
So for the fourth year in a row, Mary Alice Stephenson and her GLAM4GOOD team traveled to Michigan to stage and style a show as part of a charity luncheon, the proceeds of which aid Grace Centers of Hope. They had just 24 hours to create a world-class fashion show to raise money and awareness and to pamper the women from the shelter who model in the show.
Rachel says Grace Centers of Hope changed her life. She has developed a strong relationship with her family and learned to forgive and love herself again. Because of all the hard work she has done to get on her feet, she was given the opportunity to be in the GLAM4GOOD fashion show. The experience inspired her: "Seeing all the girls from the shelter so happy and looking so beautiful empowered me. I know all their struggles and how far they have come to feel beautiful." According to Dr. Clark, participating in the show and receiving the star treatment from the GLAM4GOOD team acts as a huge confidence booster for the women and greatly improves their self-esteem.
"My mom cried through the whole fashion show," says Rachel. "She said that at the moment I came on stage and my son jumped up to hug me and we walked down the runway together, she felt so proud."
The fashion show raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the shelter. Dr. Clark says, "Because of this show, the Grace Centers of Hope women experienced tremendous generosity, love and support from people who are trying to make a difference in their lives. They recognized they are not struggling alone. Thank you GLAM4GOOD, Suave Professionals and all the incredible fashion designers and accessory brands that contributed to making these women feel so special."
- Research issues of abuse, homelessness and addiction, especially as it relates to women and children.
- Volunteer your time at a shelter to help those who need it most.
- Give financial resources -- you can commit to a certain dollar amount each month, or provide a one-time donation of whatever you can afford.
- Host a fundraiser.
- Engage your personal network of family, friends and colleagues.
- Support a women in her decision to leave.
- Be a source of comfort.
- Look for resources available in your local community.
- Find a support group for the addict.
- Find a support group for yourself and your loved ones affected by the addict.
- Recognize signs of addiction and learn the difference between helping and enabling.
- Don't give in to manipulation.
- Don't wait for the situation to become unmanageable -- reach out for help now.
- Recognize that not all homeless individuals are the same -- all have a different reason for becoming homeless: addiction, mental illness, financial problems, domestic abuse, etc.
- Talk to the homeless with respect, and engage them in a friendly manner to provide them with a sense of civility and dignity.
- Give the gift of food and clothing, not cash, to those living on the streets.
In the video and album, meet Rachel, hear her story and get a behind the scenes view of GLAM4GOOD preparing for the fashion show that will raise money for Grace Centers of Hope while empowering the women in the show.