School Name: Bellus Academy
Street Address: 13266 Poway Road
Contact Person: Lynelle Lynch
Nominee Application Questions
- Scope - please describe the scope of community service initiative(s) at the school:
Giving back to the community is a core value at Bellus Academy. A humanitarian spirit is shared by students, educators and staff. Community service is not limited to the confines of our campuses. Bellus Academy students and staff invest hundreds of hours annually providing “acts of beauty and care” to individuals in our communities.
While many people think of beauty services as indulgences, Bellus Academy views grooming and self-care as an integral part of a human’s dignity. Whether an individual is a caregiver helping a loved one through cancer treatment, a veteran seeking to re-enter the workforce, or a homeless individual working to get his or her life back on track, self-respect is a prerequisite to performing at one’s highest level.
Following are some programs and events where Bellus Academy students and staff have recently donated their services.
National Cancer Survivor’s Day: Bellus Academy celebrated the strength of cancer survivors and caregivers with complimentary lilac manicures. Lilac is the signature shade for all cancer survivors and throughout the day on June 2, 2015, Bellus Academy students provided polish and pampering services to cancer survivors and their caregivers. Hair and esthetics students were not left out of the day’s events, but were encouraged to bring their friends and family in for services, as Bellus Academy donated 25% of the day’s salon proceeds to the Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Group.
Helping the Homeless: Helping restore the dignity of our community’s homeless population has become a signature cause at Bellus Academy. A few recent events include:
2015 South Bay Homeless Connect. Bellus Academy students used their cosmetology skills and knowledge to provide haircuts for the homeless at the South Bay Homeless Advocacy Coalition’s Turning the Hearts Center in Chula Vista. Students and educators joined the center in providing homeless children and adults with services and information to help them live a healthier and safer lifestyle.
You First Project. Helping others often drives the human desire to give back even more. After helping with a program to provide free haircuts to homeless people in Oceanside, Bellus Academy student Stef Ferarri was inspired to coordinate a similar event in Ocean Beach. Stef was inspired by the “You First Project’s” mission to restore dignity, show value and create unity.
10th Project Homeless Connect drew nearly 1,200 homeless people in the San Diego area to Golden Hall. Students provided haircuts and barbering services.
Childhelp Fashion Show: Bellus students, under the guidance of educators, provided hair and makeup for models in the annual fashion show that raised funds to prevent and end child abuse.
National Charity League Fashion Show: On three days last fall, Bellus Academy students provided hair and makeup for models in the National Charity League Fashion Shows in Carlsbad and Balboa Park.
- Impact – what has the impact of the initiative(s) been on the local community?
Bellus Academy students have donated time and talent to raise funds for worthy causes including child abuse and cancer support groups. Their efforts alongside those of other humanitarian groups in our community have helped individuals improve their dignity; an important prerequisite to applying for a job or going back to school.
- Connections – how are the initiative(s) connected with the school’s programs and providing service learning opportunities for students?
By participating in charitable activities, students have an opportunity to practice their craft and earn service hours toward their licensure. However, the service opportunities also expose students to a diverse clientele and all demographics. For example, many of the homeless center initiatives involved providing haircuts to children. Anyone who has ever given a child his or her first haircut know it’s a “unique” experience that is hard to simulate in a classroom environment!
- Commitment – how do the initiative(s) demonstrate an exceptional commitment to the local community?
There is an old African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” At Bellus Academy, we believe it takes a village to create a thriving community. Our students and staff are humbled when we have an opportunity to apply cosmetology, nail, esthetic and barbering skills in a way that helps others. At Bellus Academy, our goal is not only to teach students the technical and business skills necessary to succeed in the industry, but to instill in students a desire to be part of something bigger – creating a thriving, healthy community.
- Stories – please share any stories that show how community service has touched the lives of students, school staff, or community members:
A few inspiring stories come to mind. First, upon being contacted about the National Cancer Survivor’s Day event, a local television anchor expressed her gratitude. “It means so much to me that you are doing this – I’m a cancer survivor myself,” she said. Such words of gratitude allow our students to understand firsthand how their “acts of beauty” add value to the lives of others.
As noted above, one student was motivated to take the “haircuts for the homeless” model forward to a new community after participating in an event. An amazing part of community service at Bellus Academy is seeing how students embrace service not as a requirement but as an opportunity and even a responsibility to pay their education forward and help others.