By Rich Figel
The new March episode of Career Changers TV premieres Sat., March 2, 9:30 PM on OC16 (time approximate since it follows high school wrestling). This month's theme is makeovers -- with a couple of twists.
After we profiled stylist Paul Brown on our show back in June, he was so pleased with the response he got from clients (plus calls from local media to do interviews), he said he'd love to do a makeover segment on CCTV. Since Paul has been a strong supporter of the Wounded Warriors program to help military vets, we planned on assisting a selected veteran with their transition to the civilian workforce. Long story short, military red tape prevented us from providing a makeover to the woman that was lined up by Paul's PR people, so we had to find another candidate.
As it turned out, the PR firm -- Becker Communications -- put us in touch with Catholic Charities Hawaii, which runs the Mary Jane Program for pregnant women who need help. They provide housing, around-the-clock supervision and counseling, as well as guidance to victims of physical abuse and rape. Many were raised by drug-addicted parents, beaten by them, then later battered by partners, and became addicts themselves. The Mary Jane Program's goal is to break that cycle and show these young mothers how to avoid falling into the same destructive patterns of their parents.
While filming our interview with Alanna, a client at the MJP house in Kailua, it was painful to listen to her talk about being raped and victimized by the people she loved and was closest too. Offering a makeover didn't seem like much, given the kind of trauma she's had to endure. But she was excited about the opportunity, and felt it could help with her job search down the road. One of the goals of the Mary Jane Program is to have their clients become self-sufficient, and that means becoming employed or going back to school to get job training. Obviously, a new set of clothes and hair-do isn't enough... but it's a small step forward for people like Alanna, and we were happy to be a part of that.
The first twist was learning that the director of the Mary Jane Program, Faye Ramos, received her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, a longtime sponsor of my show. We've run segments about their MFT program, and featured an Argosy instructor -- Barbara Mullen -- whose day job was sex abuse counseling at Catholic Charities. Barbara pointed out that Argosy provides students with hands-on experience through internships for their practicum (click here for that video). Faye was one of Barbara's students, and did her practicum at Catholic Charities. A few months later, they hired her to run the Mary Jane Program.
You hear a lot of negative things about "for profit" colleges that promise career opportunities, then fail to deliver. But unsolicited testimonials like Faye's confirm that schools such as Argosy Hawaii, are doing good work. They train professionals who are making a difference in the lives of others.
Another twist is the role Nordstrom Rack and Paul Brown played in Alanna's transformation. When you think about it, who we are isn't just an inside job. How we dress and look reflects our attitude toward the outside world as well.
More on Alanna's makeover in Part 2 -- and I'll also tell you about our tattoo removal segment, which ties in to a "joke" blog post I wrote about jobs of the future with huge potential!
For daily viewing times (subject to change due to high school sports) visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here -- including Alanna's makeover and Joelle's tattoo removal biz.