Vanessa Howard: From Homelessness to Giving Back
At one point in her life, Vanessa Howard, a single mother of three, was homeless. During that time, she never dreamed that she would one day own her own business, and be able to assist other women who found themselves without shelter.
Today, Howard is the owner of Giving Hands Hair Salon, a hair salon with a heart; the entrepreneur and her team give back to the community by providing free makeovers for homeless women and girls. Thus far, the salon has given 275 people free trims, facials and manicures.
Surviving Homelessness and Becoming and Entrepreneur
A victim of domestic violence and impregnated while still in her teens, Howard fled from a drug-infested home. During this difficult time, she faced further challenges, including being suicidal.
She decided that she’d had enough and decided to pick herself up. Howard commented in an interview with CBS News,
“I was tired of being homeless, tired of being alone and prayed for help.”
Once she managed to find a place to stay, her next move was to land a job which would at least allow her to pay her bills. She found work at a beauty salon, and went on to work for a string of beauty salons before accumulating sufficient funds to open up her own salon.
Howard named her salon the Giving Hands Hair Salon; a name that reflected her desire to give to those in need.
“We want them to feel good about themselves,” she said. “We don’t want them to be concerned about how they look.”
Giving Hands particularly aims to assist homeless girls during the back-to-school season, in an attempt to help them “feel like a princess for a day” and be more confident in returning to school. These girls are also given free headbands, backpacks and school supplies.
“All of us have a story, and I believe that we should use what we’ve been through to help others.”
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani