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Posted: February 19, 2010 12:01 a.m.

Beautiful Hearts: DeKalb Tech cosmetology students give needy residents free makeovers

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 After losing her job and being evicted from her apartment, Sabrina Ortiz now calls The Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter in Covington her home. As part of a DeKalb Technical College cosmetology department project called "From Our Hearts to Yours" she recently received an eyebrow wax, a facial, hair styling and color as well as a manicure and pedicure.
 "I want to look as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside," Ortiz said.
 Her makeover and others in the project is the brainchild of DTC cosmetology student Carla Tyrell.
 "We're giving back to people who have endured some hard times, and we're just showing them love from our hearts to theirs. This is something to build their self esteem," Tyrell said.
  The two-day program offered these services to nine boys who are a part of the Newton County Juvenile Justice System as well as more than 30 women who come from several battered women's and homeless shelters in the region.
 "I have experienced domestic violence myself, and I just want to give back as much as I can because I know what women go through. It's a personal thing," Tyrell said.
 Several business sponsors from the beauty industry are partnering with DeKalb Tech to offer the full-service salon to deserving people. The DeKalb Tech Student Government Association, Skills USA, the Criminal Justice Club and the Cosmetology Department at the Covington campus assisted in the Feb. 10 and 11 event. Many of the recipients of these services were also able to find donated clothes to spruce up their wardrobe as well as walk out with a new cosmetic look.
 Tyrell says this community service project will be entered in the Skills USA statewide competition later this year. Skills USA is a national organization for trade, industrial, technical and health occupation students that promotes leadership, citizenship and character development programs.
 Arnold Taylor, a cosmetology instructor at DeKalb Technical College, also used the project as a classroom setting.
 "I use this as a teaching tool. Every time you give back to the community, it always helps the community. They're learning to give back and learning to make contacts. They're learning what it means to be in a true service industry and that is what cosmetology is," Taylor said.
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