HOLLYWOOD — More than 30 homeless women this week received mini-makeovers for Mother’s Day.
The women were either current or former residents of Broward Outreach Center in Hollywood, a place where men, women and children can get food, shelter, job training and other services. It is a division of the Miami Rescue Mission.
Every year, the center honors the women who make the shelter their home for anywhere between three and six months.
“It lets the mothers know that God loves them, we love them and they are not forgotten,” said Don Cotton, a case manager and supervisor at the center.
One by one, the women on Wednesday, May 5 entered a make-shift salon at the center on Scott Street in Hollywood, sporting shaggy hair and eyebrows, bustling with excitement.
After a visit with stylist Debra Petrocelli or Beverly Scott, they left coiffed, trimmed, and with goody bags stuffed with hair and nail products, provided by the stylists.
Scott, who works at Peter of London in Kendall, has been volunteering at the center for two years. She recruited Petrocelli, who works at a Hair Cuttery in Weston, to help her in what she calls her feel-good mission.
“They are special people,” Scott said of her homeless clients. “We want them to know they are loved no matter what they are going through, because everyone goes through something. We will be back next month to do the men.”
The Mother’s Day event continues Friday, May 7, when Girl Scout Troops from Pen Tab Academy are scheduled to deliver hand-made Mother’s Day cards to each mother, and the women will receive a laminated poem written by a staff person at the center.
The mothers will also receive a bath and body gift set, and will be serenaded by vocalist Nathan Gunter.
The best part: It’s a surprise.
“They told me more is to come on Friday; I don’t know what, but I can’t wait,” center resident Brenda Vidale said after her mini-makeover on Wednesday.
Petrocelli trimmed her shoulder-length hair and arched her eyebrows.
Vidale, 33, and her four children — two boys, 14 and 5 years old, and two girls, 12 years old and 15 months — arrived at the shelter about a month ago. The 33-year-old dental assistant has been out of work for more than a year.
She was living with a friend, but could not afford the rental payments. Her search for an apartment ran into roadblocks. She dialed Broward’s 2-1-1 helpline, and was offered a family residence by the center. The center has space for seven families, as well as room for single men and women.
“I hesitated at first because I didn’t want to go to a shelter; I thought it would be depressing for me and my kids,” said Vidale, a former Lauderhill resident. “But I sucked up my pride and drove up here and we have been here every since.”
Depression is not a word that Vidale uses to describe her mood these days.
“Me and my kids are having fun,” she said. “The kids get bus service, I have established child care, and I am starting my job search tomorrow.”
Vidale gets to share Mother’s Day with a special person.
“On Sunday, I get to spend some time with my mom,” she said.
Photo by Khary Bruyning. Brenda Vidale of Lauderhill is getting her eyebrows cleaned.