The IRC in Atlanta’s First Things First Women’s Literacy class recently enjoyed a special treat as aspiring makeup artist, Lexi Barragan, kindly came in to give makeovers and makeup lessons to our students. After a brief vocabulary lesson, students spent the remainder of the morning testing out eyeshadow colors and lipstick, getting pampered and admiring each other’s transformations.
The women took turns sitting for their makeovers, as Lexi artfully applied eye shadow, blush and lipstick. Each one smiled as they saw their reflections, their unique beauty highlighted through the skillful application of subtle colors and tones. Students had the opportunity to learn and practice makeup techniques, and thanks to a generous donation from Diana and Cleo at the Bloomingdale’s Lennox Square Dior counter, everyone got a makeup gift bag to take home. Lexi also provided complementary skin care products for the students, so everyone left with plenty of beauty supplies for practicing their new makeup skills and treating themselves to facials at home.
Most of the women who attend First Things First are refugees on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides financial support for single parents. These women show tremendous strength, courage and motivation to improve their lives and job prospects by working diligently on their English. They attend English, Job Skills and Computer Literacy classes five days a week here at the IRC in Atlanta, all while navigating life in a new country and raising children alone. These single mothers have survived unimaginable hardships to get here and are determined to make a better life for themselves and their families. Lexi’s visit to the First Things First class provided these resilient and dedicated students with a chance to relax, forget their daily stresses and take a break from their English lessons. Student Ze Lam, originally from Myanmar, thoroughly enjoyed the makeover session. “English class is good, but today is special,” she said. “Today is for us.”
This day was also a powerful experience for Lexi. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to practice my skills and spend time with these remarkable women,” she said. The IRC in Atlanta’s First Things First instructor, Wende Crowe, and her team of dedicated volunteers feel privileged to work with this group of incredible women every day and enjoyed seeing their students treated to makeovers. The IRC in Atlanta is so grateful to Lexie, Diana and Cleo for making this special day possible.