Enchanted Makeovers is celebrating its fifth year working in women’s shelters to transform interior spaces — drab bunks and windows — with cheery designs, but, ultimately, the non-profit organization wants to transform the inner hearts of people by genuinely caring for their souls.
The majority of women living in shelters have small children. While their basic needs are being met, the conditions are sometimes depressing. The environment can be sterile, in need of repair, and certainly not conducive to nurturing dreams for a better future.
Enchanted Makeovers pulls together volunteers and donors to change all of that, going well beyond painting a wall and collecting toiletries.
“We transform physical shelter spaces into whimsical cottage retreats for women and children because we believe every single one of us is worthy,” says Terry Grahl, a former interior designer who left the profession to become founder and president of Enchanted Makeovers.
The entire physical space is uplifing. Mural artists paint inspiring images on the walls and children receive their own hand-made dolls. For many of the women and children in the shelters, for the first time in their lives they feel worthy and valued. The children’s shoes are even painted with images of their dreams for the future, so with each step they are moving toward that dream.
The group also brings together projects such as cooking and sewing classes, setting up sewing rooms and gardens, and journaling, fitness and art programs.
“The transformation of the residents and staff, as well as donors and volunteers is incredible,” says Grahl.
The impact of her team’s efforts is not short-lived. The work in local shelters creates a ripple effect in the community which excites and empowers other volunteers to continue the mission long after the team is gone.
Environmental psychology has proven that imagery in the environment influences human behavior on many levels. In his book The Worry Solution, Martin Rossman, M.D. talks about how images and the environment actually affect the brain’s limbic system. They can actually act as a stress reliever. The power of imagination also plays a part. As Dr.Victor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning pointed out, when you can imagine survival, you will survive.
The truth is that Enchanted Makeovers is not a series of “decorating” projects; it is a movement to transform not only the lives of the women and families who are rebuilding but also to transform those who participate in the giving.
Donate to Enchanted Makeovers, or get involved, at their website: www.enchantedmakeovers.org/