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Salon professionals raise money for homeless shelter

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Revé Portraits photo Phylisa Weed, who owns Divine Experience Salon & Spa in Cedaredge, gives a ticket holder a fresh look with a haircut and style at the fourth annual fundraiser "Girl Talk: A Day of Beauty & Bliss." The event raises funds for the Abrah

In September, volunteers at the Abraham Connection homeless shelter hosted the fourth annual fundraiser "Girl Talk: A Day of Beauty & Bliss." The event brings together area salon professionals and home-based companies such as Arbonne and Mary Kay to showcase their services and products to ticket holders. Ticket holders are treated to an afternoon of pampering, live music, wine and beer tasting, shopping and glamour photos.

"This event is a fun way for women to get together and have some girl time," said Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, board president of the Abraham Connection. The event allows ticket holders to have much-needed "me" time, business partners to build clientele, and most importantly, the community to help raise funds for shelter operations. This year, the event raised $2,000, which has been earmarked for case management services for shelter guests. Case management includes things like helping replace a lost or stolen ID, birth certificate or social security card, clothing for a job interview or transportation for medical appointments out of the area.

Over the past four years this event has been held, organizers have noticed a trend. Not only are ticket holders raising funds to help those in need, but they are also receiving much more than a fun afternoon -- they get the chance to truly relax, recharge and rejuvenate. "This year, I had someone on my table who was just so excited to be there receiving all the services," said Christina Peters, who owns the massage studio The Body Shop, Ltd., in Delta. "She almost started to cry and told me she hadn't felt like this good in years. She said she felt like a queen for a day."

Sara Rapp, who has attended the event all four years, shares a similar story. Each year, she purchases a ticket for herself and for a friend. The first year she attended, she brought a young mother who was living at House of Promise in Olathe. The young woman was having difficulty finding a job and was feeling down and out, Rapp said. That afternoon, the woman got a haircut, pedicure, facial and a massage. "She looked like a changed person," Rapp said. "She felt better about herself, and she had more confidence." The following week, that woman found a job, and soon was able to move out of House of Promise and get back on her feet. "It's amazing what a haircut can do for a person," Rapp said.

"Our first goal in these events is of course to raise funds for the shelter," said Kami Collins, a board member for the Abraham Connection and an event volunteer. "But it's also wonderful to see how this event touches and helps even more than our shelter guests. We talk a lot about how the Abraham Connection is a community shelter, and I think this event points to how widespread this mission reaches, even in something as simple as a women's spa day event."

"I have volunteered now for four years doing chair or table massage for the event," Peters said. "I love being able to give back to the community and this event to me is a double gift. Not only are the ladies donating to the Abraham Connection, but they get to receive all these different services and be pampered for a day. I truly love giving massage and helping people to feel better and what a great way to do it."

"This is a really fun event, but it wouldn't come together without all of our sponsors and those who donate their time, product and service," Oeltjenbruns said. "We truly appreciate everyone who helps make this event a success."

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