After her grandmother died in 2000, Rachael Doyle, a high school junior from Long Island, decided that she wanted to do something to lessen the loneliness for some seniors in a local nursing home. Rachael along with 2 volunteers went into the senior facility and offered the women there makeovers. It began with doing the women’s nails. “What color do you want?” was the icebreaker question. And thus the GLAMOURGALS program began.
Primping and offering loads of quality attention to isolated seniors has made this unique intergenerational connection a huge success. One volunteer stated ” I feel like I have 10 new grandmothers!”
GLAMOURGALS is now a national nonprofit foundation with chapters across the country. The student volunteers learn compassion and empathy, and along the way they hone their leadership skills.
When the COVID-19 lockdown restricted entry into all the senior facilities, GLAMOURGALS kept their connections going through handwritten letters with their “My Dear Friend” program. They have amped up their efforts this year to get holiday notes out to 15,000 seniors. And, they have easily met that goal and gone beyond.
Anyone can sign up and write a seasonal greeting to a lonely senior in a nursing home. During the holidays, a handwritten note can bring a sense of being loved to someone who may not have any family coming to visit.
Heck, why stand on ceremony when we know a handwritten note is something special any day of the year! And loneliness is always with us. Perhaps, this activity might be a perfect New Year resolution idea…Let’s hope that GlamourGals continues “My Dear Friend” with a campaign for Valentine’s Day and the rest of the year, too.