By Mike Schuh

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)—By the time a woman has to turn to a shelter, she may have lost a home,  job, car and her kids.

Mike Schuh reports, the road back to success stops at an unlikely place.

Nikki Jennings can’t remember the last time she’s been in a beautician’s chair.

“I had more immediate concerns,” Jennings said. “My kids are my immediate concern. I have three kids with me, so hair was the furthest thing from my mind, and I’ve never been in a situation like this before.”

She lost her job. The family home was foreclosed. Now she has moved her son and daughters into a shelter.

Her goal: “Go back into the work world, find a good job, and get my life back together,” she said.

Cathy Wood-Rupert is helping. She’s the job coach at the shelter.

“I try to help give them some confidence,” Wood-Rupert said.

Part of that confidence comes at a beauty salon in Towson.  Women in shelters don’t have the $70-$100 to redo their long neglected hair. And as the saying goes, when you look good, you feel good.

“I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw, and if I go out to look for a job, and I don’t like what I see, no one’s going to like what they see,” Jennings said.

So the salon owner volunteers to style the hair of the women who are about to go on job interviews.

“I just feel so overwhelmed to help these ladies. It really means a lot to me,” said Linda Charles, salon owner.

“It will absolutely make a difference,” Wood-Rupert said. “Will she get the job because of the hairdo? Who knows.”

If Jennings gets a job soon, she will move into transitional housing in January.


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