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Dagmar and Andrew, laughter at Beauty Night

February 14, 2012

“The Korean guy gives good massages,” Dagmar announces pointing over to where Andrew, a slim, young Korean man is finishing up a back massage. Dagmar was born in Austria and her parents immigrated to Canada in 1952 when she was one year old. She came to Vancouver in 1961 and first met Caroline, the Executive Director and founder of Beauty Night, at the former Wish Drop-In Centre in the core of the Downtown East Side. Dagmar is a regular at Beauty Night.

She speaks not so much about herself, but mostly about what Beauty Night does for the other women. “They treat the ladies pretty well here….it is good for the ladies, gives them a chance to talk… sometimes hair stylists come in and they give the ladies haircuts….they are good stylists….the massages and beauty treatments are a special treat for the ladies because they can’t afford to pay for them otherwise…”

Andrew finishes with his client and comes over to where Dagmar is waiting. “The girls chase him like a bad fly because he gives a great massage”, she says grinning over her shoulder at Andrew as he starts to work on the knots in her shoulder. “I know you’re tired, but work it,” she jokes and then turns to me and says, “he blushes ‘cause he’s only 25. We tease him a lot.”

It’s true – it is one flush of red after another for Andrew as Dagmar jokes with him. It is all good-natured fun though, and Andrew knows it. I am sure that same by-play occurs every Tuesday night. I ask Andrew what he is doing here, the only man present except for a photographer. “I heard about it from a manager at the lab where I work,” he answers. “I have been volunteering here since November and I love this place.”

I love one of the phrases that Beauty Night uses on its website “Beauty Night, because Dignity is Beautiful”.  Beauty Night builds self-esteem and changes lives of women and youth living in poverty by teaching them about and encouraging wellness, by helping these women and their children develop good life skills, and through makeovers that help them relax and feel good about themselves. It is in part the power of the human touch.

How can the disadvantaged in our society cope when they lack the basics, a decent roof over their heads, nutritious food on the table, good health, basic education, a safe environment, a job that gives them self-respect and dignity, the self-confidence that comes from feeling good about themselves, or being treated with respect? And what happens to the children when their parents can’t provide? Beauty Night helps the women in the Downtown East Side achieve some of these basics. You too can help, by donating money or goods and by volunteering.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Blair Lockhart permalink
    February 14, 2012 11:41 am

    That was a fabulous event last night at Beauty Night for Valentine’s Day. Caroline did an amazing job organizing such a busy and productive night, and it was really fulfilling for us volunteers. Thank you Patricia for the blog, a great way to communicate about this wonderful organization!

    • February 14, 2012 12:12 pm

      Thanks for the comment Blair – I can’t wait to get my pictures up from last night, hopefully it will be later today or tomorrow.

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