Avondale Empire Beauty School’s own Cristie Abrams uses her cosmetology skills and generosity to help teenage girls. Abrams and her husband initiated Dresses for Dances after vowing to “pay it forward” when a good friend helped the Abrams family 10 years ago during troubling times. Abrams and her husband promised to repay their kindness to others in need. Last year the Avondale student found a way to help others.
Abrams enlisted two of her teenage children to quietly seek out girls in their high school who had hoped to attend a school dance but had neither dress nor the means to do so. In the meantime, Abrams headed to a local Goodwill store and purchased dresses and shoes. She then encouraged her fellow Empire Beauty School classmates to donate their own dresses and shoes. Before long she had what she needed and more. Several Empire Beauty School students also offered their time to help get the girls ready for the dance/.
“In all we had 60 dresses that day for the girls to choose from, and about 15 pairs of shoes. The excitement at my home was at an all time high. I assigned each Stylist to a young lady and that person was responsible for completing their entire look’, said Abrams.
In addition to supplying their makeup and providing their dresses, Abrams also teaches the teenagers how to properly apply makeup. Abrams finances the hair and makeup products out of her own pocket, as well as the up-keep of the dresses. She pays for the dry cleaning after the dresses are returned and also sews alterations for the dresses.
“There is absolutely NO COST at all to the girls, I buy or barter for the cost of the admission to the dance also, if you could see their faces when we are all done, that is more than any amount of money I could ever charge or receive,” added Abrams.
“I truly enjoy making others happy, and to see a smile on their face is even better knowing that Dan and I had a part in that. Everyone has an opportunity to honor their word of promise and pay it forward. I just did it, and I can’t wait to do it again in May of this year,” said Abrams, who will double the amount of girls she helped last year. One of Abrams daughters also helps the girls get ready while her son and husband cook food for the day of beauty at their home in preparation for the dance.
Abrams will graduate from Empire Beauty School in April and hopes to become a Cosmetology Educator in the future, “I will probably assist somewhere first to get a hands-on approach, and to become more familiar with current techniques. I am hoping to find an awesome salon to help further my education, and not become stagnant in this always changing industry,” noted Abrams.