Vanessa Howard has experienced what it’s like to come from virtually nothing and desperately need help. Now, she wants to give back.
Howard has painful memories of growing up in a home where drugs were often present. She then became a teenage mom and a victim of domestic violence. At one point, she was suicidal.
But Howard eventually got the courage to leave her suffering behind and find a better life for her and her daughters.
“I was tired of being homeless, tired of being alone and prayed for help,” Howard said, according to Liftable.
Soon after, she was lucky enough to come across a landlord that gave her a chance and decided to rent her an apartment, allowing her to start working at nearby hair salons and get back on her feet.
Decades passed, and the mother of five finally saved up enough money to open her own hair shop a few years ago, the appropriately-named Giving Hands Hair Salon.
She also started a non-profit organization called The Giving Hands Foundation. Based in Tampa, the foundation allowed her to give makeovers to underprivileged and homeless women at her business once a month.
The makeovers, called “Spiritual Spa Days,” provide women with free trims, facials, and manicures.
Howard also hosts back-to-school “princess” events for homeless children, and gives them free backpacks and school supplies.
“I’m looking to help restore women. I’m looking to restore children, because . . . that pain is a part of my purpose,” Howard said about the purpose of her mission.
So far, she’s provided free services to hundreds of women and children. Her actions have given her lots of positive media attention, and she even appeared on the HARRY talk show.
Howard’s latest event for the homeless was held at the beginning of October. The women who came in were given a makeover worth more than $300 for each person, and they each left with a Bible and a gift bag.
Howard’s story conveys that even if you are at rock bottom, it’s always possible to make your way back from it.
It’s touching to see how Vanessa Howard hasn’t forgotten where she came from—she knows what life is like for the women coming into the shop, and it brings her joy to improve the lives of those people, even for just one day.