Beauty Day – Reade Foundation

Reade Foundation, Beauty Day

Liesbeth Colpa is enjoying a fabulous foot massage. “This is wonderful. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a foot massage. I’ve always been single, but this would be a great reason to get a man in my life. The men I met didn’t even cook for me so I showed them the door.” She is chatting to volunteer Marcella who receives nothing but praise. “This is an experience of a lifetime. It’s wonderful that she’s giving up her afternoon and doing this for free. Everyone would love this.”

Marcella Anson laughs when Ms Colpa compliments her. “All these compliments are great. This is my first time doing this. I have many talents.” Marcella is a midwife in her daily life. She also gives massages to newborns, including their feet, so this isn’t entirely new to her. Marcella was supposed to be helping with the bingo until it turned out someone else was needed for Beauty Day. “This is much more fun than bingo as you have more contact with other people. Everyone has a story to tell.”

Janna is giving manicures and painting nails. She likes making others feel relaxed and talking about women’s issues. Janna is helping as a volunteer because she believes that people should look beyond themselves and could all do a little more. “It is important to think about other people.” She is very positive about the Serve the City approach. “Participating is easy and everything is very clear. You go to the website, and each month you can pick something you really enjoy. The pleasure you give others is what you receive yourself. And everyone can make a difference.”

Rose de Souza Silva has been working as a volunteer for Serve the City for 11 years but has been less active over the past year after having a stroke. She ended up in a revalidation centre where the volunteers were active. Rose wanted to help, but wasn’t allowed to by her supervisor. This time she would have to receive. It’s hard for Rose but she knows it is important too. She learned a lot this year. “I can take the positive and throw away the negative.” Rose hopes to work as a volunteer again in the future having realised that it doesn’t just involve your hands: opening your ears and heart can be at least as useful. “You get so much in return. It took a while before I was able to communicate with the people here. Everyone is in pain. Today I see that they are much more open because the volunteers have come to bring them something and listen.” The main lesson of the day? “That I matter, that I’m important too.”

Ilja van Woerden is overwhelmed by the end of the day. It really made her feel good to help others feel better. “My goal was that people would enjoy themselves and relax. And they did: some almost fell asleep during my massage, which is a great compliment. I hadn’t expected to be so good at it.” This brings Ilja a step closer to what she hopes to achieve: giving people their strength back. “Either by talking to them or in a different way. As I learned today, you can even help people with touch. I am glad I pushed through as I have low self-esteem myslef. But I am getting nearer to my goal with each step I take.”

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