Local realtor Diane Sparks-Cassidy once again joined forces with the Mark Anthony Academy of Cosmetology to continue a Langley tradition.
Each year, Sparks-Cassidy funds a makeover for the annual Acts of Kindness Extreme Home Repair recipient, who is pampered at the Langley cosmetology school.
On May 19, Victoria Newstead enjoyed a royal treatment at the school — at no charge. Newstead received a full body massage, which she described as a “full hour of pure bliss,” as well as facial, manicure, and a pedicure.
This is the 14th year for EHR, a non-profit outreach organization run by the Church in the Valley’s “Acts of Kindness” team (AOK).
Established in 2004, the EHR project annually transforms the home of a local individual or family facing difficult circumstances related to their housing and resources.
The project brings together over 200 volunteers, dozens of community-minded businesses, friends, family, and neighbours, to give the selected recipients a fresh start in a safe and comfortable environment.
In recent years Sparks-Cassidy has, on her own incentive, sponsored the personal makeover for female recipients. Her philosophy remains the same: if a home is getting a makeover, why shouldn’t the person who lives in it get one, too?
“That was kind of the inspiration when I looked into the project,” Sparks-Cassidy said.
In the beginning, Sparks-Cassidy had a gift certificate given to her by her late husband. It had money still remaining on it but she couldn’t bring herself to get a makeover done. “It would bring me to tears every time I thought about it.”
So she used the certificate to help a total stranger.
Sparks-Cassidy said the partnership with the school has been “excellent.”
“The girls are really good to the recipient, and they pamper her to pieces and all the ladies seem to really love it,” Sparks-Cassidy said.
On her own behalf, Sparks-Cassidy said “it’s a project I’m really fond of, and I think we women should stick together and help each other.”
Shelley McBride, who is head of the aesthetics department at the school, said most people enter the cosmetology industry because they want to help people and make them feel better about themselves.
So with this in mind, giving an EHR recipient a makeover is right in their wheelhouse.
“This is an amazing opportunity to do that on a personal level as well as on a community level,” McBride said. “We do it every year; we love it.”
Newstead said this is the first time she’s spent a full day getting a spa treatment.
“Just to be taken care of,” she said. “You don’t need to think about anything.”