Volunteering: Community Beauty

by Claire Alexandra Doyle

As a child, I loved being involved in theater and dance. Each equipped with our individual skills, we would come together to create a beautiful piece of work. This artistic-minded community is one of the reasons why I sought out a career in film and television, as well as joining Local 706. Working amongst like-minded and skilled artisans to create something beautiful.

Earlier in 2017, while dropping off some dry cleaning, I noticed a flier for a public high school seeking men and women’s formal attire for donation to the San Fernando High School prom drive. This school wasn’t in my neighborhood and about 12 miles away. I asked the dry cleaner if he knew someone at the school and he said, “No, just a friend is organizing the event so I thought I’d help and put out some fliers.”

I thought, “Wow, how nice for the dry cleaners to spread the word. I don’t have any dresses to donate, but maybe I could also pay it forward and gather up some make-up and hair people to help out.” I created a posting on our Local 706 Facebook page to see who was available and interested in volunteering.

On May 20, myself and fellow make-up artists Randi Mavestrand, Cheryl Ann Nick, Janice Heaton, Lisa Ruckh, Jessica deBen Polish and hairdressers Maria Elena Pantoja and Raissa Patton set up our stations on the lunch tables in the high school cafeteria. A student performed as our DJ churning out songs to keep the mood festive and they shared snacks and even cake that the students baked in one of their classes to feed us. We pooled together our skills as artists of our crafts and transformed the students; beautifying them for their prom.

As we packed up our kits at the end of a long day, each artist was given handwritten notes of thanks from the students they worked on. Their notes were heartfelt and expressed gratitude not only for our time, but also how beautiful we made them feel and look for this special moment in their lives.

I am grateful to these artists and this union for connecting us together for this special day. To quote Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”