NEWS VOLUNTEER CENTER OF BERGEN COUNTY, INC. 64 Passaic Street Hackensack, NJ 07601 Phone: 201-489-9454 Fax: 201-489-1995 www.bergenvolunteers.org For immediate release Contact: Maureen McCormick June 7, 2007 201-489-9454 Ext. 26 A Night of Beauty for Women in Mentoring Program Hackensack--Imagine you are a busy woman who has had a hectic day, and you are looking forward to a little pampering—a facial, a manicure—to make you feel human again. Refreshed, you can face life’s little ups and downs. Imagine, though, that you are a single mother, isolated and overwhelmed. You may not know how you will provide the next meal for your kids, and have little or no support in raising your family. Carving out time for yourself is a luxury you can’t afford. For 15 mothers in the Mentoring Moms Program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, this recently was not the case. Mr. Harry Comp, director of the Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack, provided a “Night of Beauty” for these moms and their children on June 4th. He and his students offered manicures, pedicures, facials and hair styling for the adults, and haircuts, make-up, braiding and temporary tattoos for the children. The mothers in the Mentoring Moms program are women who have experienced difficulty in coping with parenting, managing households and providing for their children. Unfortunate circumstances in their lives have left them anxious and worried. “How can I find a job? Who will take care of my kids? Where will we live? How can I afford a doctor?” The volunteer mentors in the Mentoring Moms program are caring women who provide guidance in parenting and life skills. They listen, share ideas and offer encouragement so the moms can improve their lives and the lives of their children. Cindy Andrake, Program Director of Mentoring Moms, tells how the ‘Night of Beauty’ came about. “Our mentors spend a lot of time with their mentee moms, and it was the mentors who came up with the idea that it would be great to treat these women to a little pampering, to help them feel good about themselves. The thought is if you take care of yourself, you can take care of others more effectively.” The first person that Ms. Andrake called was Harry Comp. The request was a simple one—can you and your students provide manicures? Mr. Comp was extremely enthusiastic and supportive. “Why just manicures?” he asked. “How about a choice of services, and how about including the children in the fun?” Mr. Comp, a past president of the Greater Hackensack Chamber of Commerce, has been involved with community service for many years. He explains, “I love helping people. I was raised in Hackensack and feel it is so important to give back to the community. The Parisian Academy is a Paul Mitchell partner school, which means we are very active in all their philanthropic endeavors. We participate in many “Fun”-raising events to help people suffering from memory loss and mental illness, as well as support Habitat for Humanity, and other well-deserving organizations. Our mission statement is ‘Put other people first; your success will follow.’ Working with the Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Moms program, and seeing the happy faces of the moms and kids, really brings that message home.” The Volunteer Center is always looking for mentors for both of its programs: Mentoring Moms and Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS), in which caring men and women provide guidance, friendship and support to abused and neglected children ages 2 to 18. Mentors participate in many social activities like “The Night of Beauty”, or trips to the zoo with their mentees, and are uplifted by the experience. “Making a difference in someone’s life, whether it is a child or another adult, is both humbling and empowering,” says one mentor. “Sometimes, I think I get more out of it than my mentee. It feels great.” Prospective mentors are provided a six-week, comprehensive training program that includes such topics as developing listening skills, communication and problem solving. Guest speakers such as current mentors, clients who have participated in the program, and social services case workers share their experiences so that new mentors have the background and knowledge to help support the people they will be mentoring. In Mentoring Moms, this can include moms who may be single parents, or struggling with a child’s illness, or who are simply overwhelmed. Mentors usually spend 2-3 hours per week with a mother simply being a friend, listening, sharing ideas, and offering encouragement. While each situation is different, one mother aptly described her mentor as “Someone I can talk to besides family, who understands and cares. She makes me think about my life and encourages me.” Trainings for the two mentoring programs are conducted three times a year. The next sessions will begin in the Fall. Call the Volunteer Center at (201) 489-9454, to learn about becoming a volunteer mentor. Established in 1966, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County strengthens the community by connecting people with opportunities to serve, operating model volunteer programs, building capacity for effective volunteering, and participating in strategic partnerships that meet community needs. ### Recently, mothers and children enrolled in the Volunteer Center of Bergen County's Mentoring Moms program were treated to a "Night of Beauty", with manicures, facials and hair styling donated by a local beauty academy. Moms in this program are women who have experienced difficulty in coping with parenting, managing households and providing for their children, due to extenuating circumstances. Mentors are needed to help provide guidance, friendship and support for the moms. Men and women are also needed to mentor abused and neglected children. Call (201) 489-9454 Ext. 23 to help by becoming a mentor or a donor to the programs. Harry Comp, (top) director of Parisian Academy, with Georgia Brown and son Peter, who participated in the “Night of Beauty” for the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Mentoring Moms Program.