CHICAGO - Barbara Wright smiled from a chair at a salon in Chicago's Gresham neighborhood, Monday, saying, "This is amazing to me. I'm so grateful."
She's thankful for a fresh haircut - at no cost.
"I haven't had that in a long time. So it does, it feels very good," Wright added.
She was homeless for some time and can't afford to pay for a luxury item like a salon visit. More than 140 other women with similar situations were also treated Monday to the free makeover at Dudley's Beauty College.
The school partnered with the Enterprise of Black Hair Alliance, or EBHA, for this community event.
Elbert Castleberry, EBHA's marketing director, is the driving force. As the room buzzed with chatter and scissors alike, Castleberry revved up the crowd, playing music and thanking the 80 stylists for their donated time. His goal: bring this gift to 1,000 women. Castleberry believes the impact is substantial.
"They reach into the soul of hurting people, of suffering people and they bless them," Castleberry said of the stylists.
The volunteers felt that emotion reflect back on them.
"She said that she feels blessed, I feel blessed to be able to do that for her," said stylist Shanae Joseph.
The room was also filled with a sense of gratitude.
Sharon Cartledge can't quite remember the last time she had a haircut-maybe two years ago, could be as many as three. She was thankful for this surprise gift.
"I think it's a morale booster... It makes you feel better and feel good and that's important. Because when you feel good you feel a little more confident about getting out there and getting it all together," Cartledge said, thinking of job interviews.
EBHA treated the group to lunch on the way out too. Giving everyone involved a fresh start to the week.