Sonja Hoel Perkins was at a holiday toy drive at a local fire department in San Francisco when she came to an upsetting realization: Most of the donated gifts were for babies and toddlers, and the gift slot for 10-18 year olds was left empty. It was like those donating had completely forgotten the important demographic of preteens and teenagers. In Perkin's mind, being a teenager was tough to begin with, and she could not fathom the pain of being forgotten about at such a critical point in life. So, she collected jewelry, new makeup, and gift cards from her circle of friends, and together they donated 800 gifts for those girls in need, starting Project Glimmer.
At critical times throughout the year, Project Glimmer fosters support and encouragement by giving meaningful gifts of beauty products, jewelry and accessories to at-risk teens and women. Recently, Project Glimmer announced a collaboration with Jenny Balding, Redken stylist and senior stylist at NYC's Cutler Salon. "I’ve wanted to help young women and teenage girls build their confidence and remind them how amazing they are just as themselves for a long time now," Balding says. "I love mentoring and my 10 plus years of teaching hair has inspired me to work towards building youth’s self esteem as well as facilitate and help develop their creative eye.”
As part of their collaboration, Project Glimmer and Jenny Balding created a new category of giving, heat styling. "In the salon, we use heat styling tools everyday and see first hand how beauty inspires and builds confidence. Supporting Project Glimmer's Heat Styling giving is a natural fit for our industry and a way to give back and make a positive impact in our community," Perkins says.
Why Heat Styling
Former foster care child and now Founder & CEO of Gainful, Alicia Morga shares, “Life in a foster group home is difficult, you can’t have friends over from school, and there are no extracurricular activities. If you mess up or act out, you don’t get grounded, you get sent to juvenile hall. At that first Toys-for-Tots event, I latched onto a clean, unwrapped box. It was a blow-dryer and it sent me a different message, it told me I’m a girl, not a charity case. I felt understood, like I belonged.” Inspired by Morga's testimonial, Balding hopes that foster girls across the country receive these heat-styling tools feel the same way.
The non-profit is also inviting you to join in on their newest initiative: #ShareYourGlimmer. #ShareYourGlimmer teamed up with The Lions models Kenya Kinski-Jones, Ebonee Davis, Gracie Carvalho and Select World to create a campaign and day of empowerment in support of foster girls through their community partner Ticket To Dream—an organization dedicated to providing hope and opportunity for foster youth nationwide.
How You Can Help #ShareYourGlimmer
- Fundraise! $50 gives 10 gifts
- Create an Online Fundraiser
- In-salon/spa: events, donate tips, precentage of services for the day or week to benefit Project Glimmer
- Add-on services, such as $10 shampoo head massage, benefitting Project Glimmer
- Donate new beauty products, new/gently used jewelry/accessories and heat styling tools
- Host a Glimmer Drive (at a salon/spa, office or personal event) and collect new/gently used heat styling tools, new beauty products, and new/gently used jewelry & accessories
- Post about @ProjectGlimmer on Facebook and Instagram
"As a woman and also mother to a young daughter, I know how critical it is for girls and women to have a support system during their formative years and beyond," Balding says. "We need to lift each other up and Project Glimmer does just that—inspiring at-risk girls and women to believe in themselves and reminding them that they matter."
About: Since their founding, Project Glimmer has given more than 200,000 gifts to women and girls through over 200 community partners in 30 US states. Project Glimmer now gives gifts for Mother’s Day, Birthdays and Graduation gifts in addition to Holiday gifts.