Photos by Brittany Woolsey.
For Ted LaMothe, getting his nails done on Tuesday was a treat.
A 65-year-old retired aerospace engineer, LaMothe, who resides at Long Beach Brethren Manor, said he usually takes care of his nails on his own. However, for one special day, he let his own hands be taken into someone else’s hands as he was joined with about a dozen cosmetology students who donated their time Tuesday to pamper seniors with manicures and haircuts.
“Getting pampered like this is kind of nice,” LaMothe said. “I usually take care of my own nails, but the service is here, so I’m taking advantage of the opportunity.”
Giselle Cruz, volunteer coordinator at Volunteer Action for Aging, said the program started about a year ago in Long Beach.
“We decided a lot of the low income senior population can’t go out and get a haircut because it’s a luxury or they monitor their money so closely,” she said. “So we decided what better than to pamper them. A lot of them are isolated. This is a way to give them some attention.”
Cruz said Volunteer Action for Aging received a grant from its parent company, SCAN Health Plan, last year to expand the program from Long Beach to all over Southern California. Students from local cosmetology schools volunteer in order to score the hours needed to complete their programs.
“It’s kind of like the students are giving back to the community and we’re also giving back to them,” she said.
Tuesday’s event had about 20 seniors from Brethren Manor scheduled, not including walk-ins.
Reather Henderson, 31, a student at the Marinello School of Beauty in Paramount, said working with seniors was a gratifying opportunity.
“It feels rewarding to be able to help out and give back,” she said. “Seniors give a lot of wisdom in conversation and are more laid back than other clients. They’re also not as picky as other clients.”
Mila Alcantara, 69, who was getting a manicure from Henderson, said she was excited to get her nails done for free.
“I feel spoiled and pampered,” she exclaimed. “I usually get my nails done once a month, so this is really nice.”
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