Glamour in nursing homes

The organization has grown to include 50 chapters in seven states.



POLAND — It’s community service with style.

One makeover at a time, the national nonprofit organization Glamour Gals is brightening days for nursing home patients and developing leadership among young women.

Fifteen-year-old Alex Passerotti and about 10 young women from St. Charles, Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney schools arrived at Hampton Woods Nursing Center on Friday toting bags of nail polish and lipstick.

The group represents the Ohio chapter of the organization, which pairs girls ages 13-18 with nursing home patients for manicures and makeovers.

“What’s so cool about it is that the girls learn a lot from the elderly, and they in turn get to spend time with them,” said Debbie Passerotti, Alex’s mother.

The mother-daughter team decided to found a local chapter of the organization after Debbie saw Glamour Gals featured on the show “Good Morning America.”

The organization has been featured by Oprah Winfrey and CBS’s “The Early Show” as well since it was founded by a 17-year-old New York high school student in 2002. More than 50 chapters in seven states now are working toward the organization’s mission, to create “smiles that span generations.”

Inside the facility, Hayle Manuel, 15, painted an 85-year-old resident’s nails while her beneficiary recalled the day she learned her Greek family had arranged for her to be married.

“We usually take off their old polish, if they have any, and then we’ll give them a massage with hand cream,” said Manuel. “And then we put on a new color. They just pick whichever color they want.”

The residents were preparing for their Christmas party later that day.

After each makeover is complete, the Glamour Gal poses with the resident for a picture, then leaves it at the nursing home.

“One lady in the other nursing home told me to look her up next time I come,” said Carly Gemma, 12.

“They love interacting with the girls,” said Hampton Woods activity director Wendy Long. “I think it benefits the girls and the residents.”

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