I have been blessed in my life, but as I grew up, I realized there are many people who are not as fortunate. I wanted to use my talents to help others through service. My mother and I, along with Korynn Frantz and her mom, founded Manicure Ministry, the summer before I started school at Trinity High School. Manicure Ministry focuses on raising self-esteem by giving manicures to women in homeless shelters. For the last four years, we have been giving manicures to women in shelters on a monthly basis.
We initially began the Manicure Ministry at the House of Mary and Joseph on the west side of Chicago where many of the women suffered from abusive relationships. In the beginning, we simply painted their nails; however, as months passed, we started giving them goody bags, hand massages, and more elaborate nail care, such as filing and cuticle work. We have had Christmas parties for the women with dinner and gifts, and we continually try to bring decorated cookies to celebrate the closest holiday (i.e., Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, etc.). As the Manicure Ministry evolved, so has our experience and relationship with these women because some women have been coming every month since we started.
After four years of doing Manicure Ministry, giving the manicures has become secondary to the relationships we built. Through the relationships, I learned how much I had in common with the women in the shelter. We all enjoy being pampered, laughing, and feeling good about ourselves. Not only does Manicure Ministry make the women feel beautiful and raise their self-confidence, but it also helps them look polished when they go on job interviews. The women come every month with a huge smile on their faces, and they tell us countless times how happy they are to spend time with us. Impacting a woman’s life can be so heartwarming and gratifying, and I am amazed at how much this experience has broadened my mind regarding different lifestyles. By participating in Manicure Ministry, I have recognized that homelessness includes all ethnic groups, ages, and personalities. Much of my worries seem trivial compared to the challenges other people face each day. Initially, Manicure Ministry was all about nails, but it turned out to be more about the importance of reaching out beyond our comfort zone and helping others feel good about themselves through a small act of kindness.
Brigid Townsend is a member of Old St. Patrick’s Church and will graduate from Trinity High School this spring. Both she and Korynn Frantz will attend St. Louis University in the fall.
As Director of Outreach, I have personally witnessed the difference these two young ladies have made to the homeless women at the House of Mary and Joseph Shelter. The women are excited to have Brigid and Korynn visit monthly and really look forward to these gatherings. I have also seen the girls grow into young women with an incredible sense of making a difference in the world.
Old St. Pat’s Outreach would like to keep this ministry going. We would be delighted if you and your teenage daughters would participate in this ministry of caring and sharing. For more information, please contact Beth Marek at 312.831.9361, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can make a difference in the lives of homeless women in Chicago.
Beth Marek, Director of Outreach
Old St. Patrick’s Church