Face Forward: Providing Makeovers for Women Recovering From Substance Abuse

makeover-homeless.jpgHeather Rozen, of Lowell Massachusetts found herself moved by the plight of low-income women trying to put their lives back together while recovering from substance abuse.  She created a community project called “Face Forward” to give them makeovers and support them in gaining a new sense of themselves  as they search for jobs and rebuild their lives.

Here is a story about it from the Lowell Sun in Lowell Massachusets.

Putting their best Face Forward

By ANDREW RESTUCCIA, Sun Staff LOWELL — For most people, a haircut is part of a monthly routine, but for 15 local low-income residents it represents the first step in a new life.  These residents, mostly women, were having their hair cut and make-up done for free at Blaine Beauty School in Lowell yesterday and today. The makeovers are part of a program called Face Forward. The women are beginning new jobs and the makeovers will help them start over, organizers said.

 “The program is bigger than appearance,” said Heather Rozen, a Lowell resident who organized Face Forward. “It means empowering women.”   Rozen came up with the idea for Face Forward while watching What Not to Wear, a television makeover program on TLC.  “I always thought, ‘What a good idea it would be to have something along those lines for low-income women,’ ” she said.  

She further developed the program as part of a leadership course she is taking at Landmark Education in Quincy.  

Community Teamwork Inc., a local nonprofit agency that assists low-income people in becoming self-sufficient referred makeover candidates to Rozen.  Face Forward is an important part of the healthy recovery of these women, said Mark Cripps, a caseworker for the substance-abuse treatment facility Lowell House.  “It makes them feel better about themselves and if people feel better about themselves, they are less likely to engage in destructive behavior,” he said.  

Jennifer Wadsworth, director at Blaine in Lowell, said the program is about improving the self-esteem and self-image for these people.   “When individuals, whether they are women or men, are trying to do something to better their lives, we want to assist them,” she said.  

Kerry Flavin , a stay-at-home mother of two, will begin working again after spending the past eight months at the Sheehan Program for Substance Abusing Women at Tewksbury Hospital. She said she is ready to start over.

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