As many of you may know, over the past several months, I have thrown myself into volunteering with Enchanted Makeovers, as the Chief Creative Officer. I create inspirational programs and events for women and children in shelters around the country as well as for "investors" (aka volunteers).
Enchanted Makeovers is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by Inspirista Terry Grahl. Our mission is to shift the paradigm of giving, and change the way we see each other, by working together in shelters to heal our hearts and uplift our spirits. We transform physical shelter spaces into whimsical cottage retreat centers for women and children, because we believe every single one of us is worthy. We go to shelters to nurture the human connection, to transform the shelter into places where women and children can thrive, where dreams and hope can live.
The Meeting - There are No Coincidences
I met Terry in the most incredible way. Last year, my daughter and I went to a local shelter in NJ to bring some things. When I called, they told me to just go to the office, but when I got there, I couldn't find anyone. I decided to walk around the corner to try to find someone inside the home.
The pathway was rough, the outside had cracked steps and a broken door. When we went inside, the conditions were worse- dark, old paneling, dirty carpets, a musty smell. I was shocked, stunned. I felt the women and children living there deserved so much more, this was their safe haven???
I imagined myself living there while holding my daughter's hand. We found a woman who worked there, and as I handed her the bags of towels and household supplies (which definitely didn't feel like enough), I asked if there was any way my husband and I could come back and help fix the steps and door, perhaps add some color, decorate a bit. She said "unfortunately, no", but told us we could volunteer in the soup kitchen at the church.
I left that day, and couldn't get the image of the shelter out of my mind. I imagined transforming the space into something bright, cheerful. I imagined creating inspirational programs for the women and children there. I called again, but never heard back. This was on my mind for months.
Then one day, April 2, 2010, I received a response to a query I submitted on HARO looking for Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs - I was going to write a blog about the topic. The response came from Kristi Grahl, Terry's sister-in-law. Out of hundreds of replies, with little time to read through many, I chose to open Kristi's first. She told me the story of Terry's adolescence (very similar to mine), and then how she began Enchanted Makeovers. With tears in my eyes, I called and left an excited message for Terry. There are no coincidences.
We spoke shortly thereafter and spent the next several months planning a Retreat Weekend complete with inside-out "makeovers" for the women and an art class for the children at York Street Project in Jersey City, NJ. It wasn't the original shelter I went to, but I know someday we will get there as well. The Retreat Weekend was amazing.
She is Me
Terry and I connected immediately, we definitely "get" each other, share so much in common, and talk frequently about our vision for transforming lives and hearts of people around the world! Although we didn't know each other, we have been walking a similar path for many years. My life's mission is to help all women (including myself) rediscover who we were each born to be, find balance, embrace our unique imperfections, connect with each other, overcome fear, believe in miracles, dream big, use our unique gifts to serve the world, love each other flaws and all, live without judgment, have faith as the anchor, and (of course) smile a lot along the way!!
Following Her Life Purpose and Giving Up a Paycheck
Years ago, Terry was an award winning interior decorator, but she gave all that up in pursuit of hope when she was asked to paint a wall at a local shelter. Noticing the prison beds and horrible conditions, Terry looked at the women as a reflection of herself. She poured her heart and soul into transforming that space, and along the way Terry, the women, and the volunteers were transformed.
Terry started her non-profit, Enchanted Makeovers, over 4 years ago in the hopes of empowering people to believe in their dreams and embrace the simple things in life. With just her faith and creativity she was determined to uplift women and children living in shelters and show volunteers (aka investors) that we have a common thread that connects us all. ''We all want to feel worthy and loved,'' Terry often says.
Over the last 4 years, Terry and her team have traveled the country to go into shelters for women and children, and with the help of many "investors" completely change the space into a whimsical cottage retreat centers. But, what's more, is that this physical transformation is not about the space. It's not about decorating or even about being "superheroes" and helping people. It’s about investing time. Time is the most precious thing you can give.
When we help others, we heal our own wounds. All of our spirits are uplifted, lives are transformed- from the women and children to the investors to the team. It's about getting people to realize we are more alike than we are different.
Still, Terry has never taken a payroll or a salary at all. This is purely a labor of love. To be able to do what she does at shelters, she cleans offices at night.
Be Part of the Organization Built by Love
As divine timing would have it, over the past few months people have come together to be a part of this organization, and many exciting things are on the horizon! Enchanted Makeovers is establishing a headquarters from where all the important programs can be administered. We are developing a model that can be adopted by regional operations throughout the country. The headquarters will also serve as a training center for the shelter’s staff, volunteers, donors and other investors. It is important that the philosophy of investing in people, creating that human connection, is carried out in all we do.
We are also excited about new team members who have joined forces with Enchanted Makeovers. These individuals believe deeply in the mission and are investing their time and efforts so that no woman or child living in a shelter will ever feel unworthy or without hope. Please visit the website The Team Page to meet the new team members!
As you can imagine, building a national organization to support this mission comes with a cost, but I know there are many individuals and foundations who will identify and respond to this need. Please join us by making your tax-deductible donation today.
Become a part of this mission and you will be touched in ways you never dreamed. For as we uplift the spirit of others, we uplift ourselves. The common thread that connects us all is humanity.