Makeup artist Kristina Duff was living the life. Starting her career as an aesthetician in South Florida, she quickly earned recognition in the West Coast entertainment industry, where many recognizable celebrities entrust their most important commodity to her talents. That could easily have been Kristina’s story.
Then, one day in November of 2008, she received a phone call from Atlantic Recovery Services, asking her to do a workshop for some of their women on parole. Kristina created an event combining a discussion of lifeskills, advice sharing, and beauty makeovers. She left the workshop so moved by the experience that a week later, nonprofit paperwork was filed for AttaGirl, Inc., a 501c(3) organization whose mission is to inspire, empower and encourage women who have encountered abuse and adversity, helping them heal and transition into self-awareness, acceptance and love.
Since 2008, Kristin has been holding their “Skills, Strength, and Beauty” workshops for women survivors of the foster system, prison, and domestic violence situations. She personally attends each event, which last from 1 to 3 days, and in addition to a makeover, cover topics such as “Self Love and Self Confidence,” “Acknowledging Personality Strengths,” “Positive Body Image,” and “Being a Role Model for Children.” Participants often share that these workshops are the very first time they’ve ever received mentoring and help in developing skills that can allow them to be productive members of the community. The connections made transfer into a support system that helps to reduce a sense of isolation that can trigger anxiety, depression, impulsive behaviors, and choices. AttaGirl, Inc., offers a fresh start for women who sincerely want to productively conribute to society, but have never known where to go for help in achieving their goals.
All of the professionals involved in Atta Girl, Inc., workshops donate their time. The organization has received attention from community leaders and counseling organizations throughout Los Angeles for its impact on a demographic of women highly at risk for becoming entrenched in a cycle of violence and poverty. In Duff’s words, “Based on my experience and the feedback from all of our volunteers, AttaGirl, Inc. not only empowers its clients but also provides a platform for everyone to fill up on love and give back to our local communities. In addition to our volunteers, we are also currently supported by 3 brilliant grad students from USC who are using their skills to assist in creating a solid business platform that can be duplicated nationwide.”
Atta Girl is seeking partnerships and volunteers that are also willing to help make a positive impact on the lives of survivors. In addition to professional makeup artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe stylists, they welcome help from volunteer grant writers, fundraisers, and anyone interested in helping. They are also looking for donated office space in the San Fernando Valley area, as soon as Friday, Oct. 28th. (This space would be a write off for the landlord).
To learn more, or to donate time or resoruces, visit www.attagirl.org