A typical day for women in His Girls Discipleship is regimented from sunup to sundown, with classes, chores, exercise and Bible study. The year-long residential recovery program for women in crisis isn’t a cakewalk.
But Wednesday was an exception.
The women spent their day being pampered, receiving facials, hair styling and massages from students in the esthetician program at Manatee Technical College.
“I feel amazing,” said Kathleen Beffa, a His Girls participant, as she spun around to show the other women her new inverted-bob haircut.
“I feel so honored to have received the services that I received today,” Kayla Dye said, describing her facial, eyebrow waxing and eyelash extensions.
“It felt great,” said Jomeca Marshall, who said the morning spent treating her pores helped her escape her troubles for a few hours.
Rachelle Thompson was the link between the recovery program and the students.
Thompson has been in His Girls Discipleship for seven months while at the same time finishing up classes in the basic esthetician program. She has seen how relaxing and rejuvenating the facial treatments can be, and she wanted the women in the program with her to experience it first hand.
“We work a lot in the program, study a lot and we don’t do extracurricular activities,” Thompson said. “I thought it would be nice for them to get out and enjoy themselves for a day.”
His Girls Discipleship is for women in crisis, which participants said usually means women dealing with addiction, abuse or homelessness.
Wednesday’s visit wasn’t the first time many of the women set foot on the college’s campus. Others have followed Thompson’s lead and enrolled in classes to work toward future careers.
Marshall has her sights set on a career in criminal justice. Her son died of an overdose earlier this year, so she has been taking classes in hopes of one day working in a juvenile detention center to help troubled children.
Thompson hopes to eventually become a physician’s assistant in a dermatology office, and she said the classes at Manatee Technical have been integral to her success at His Girls Discipleship.
“I feel normal and like I’m accomplishing things again for the first time in a long time,” she said. “My self-esteem is through the roof.”