Edit ModuleShow Tags

Glam Squad Targets San Diego’s Low-Income Seniors

Charity project hopes to boost self-confidence by gifting makeovers

Photo by Alessi Photography

She doesn’t sport a cape or power suit, but San Diegan Callie Ahern does have a caboodle of tools that have transformed the lives of more than a hundred low-income seniors.

Ahern is the founder of The Glama Project, a year-old charity that gives makeovers to the elderly with the hopes it will boost their self-confidence and bring them joy. Inspired by her grandmother, Ahern said she launched the project just last year in her honor. “I created The Glama Project after I watched my grandmother have a tough transition into a senior community after some health problems,” Ahern says. “Watching her transition inspired me to create a project that would inspire confidence and would remind senior women that they’ve still got it.”

A self-trained makeup artist who works full-time in marketing, Ahern has an entourage of four photographers and four professional makeup artists. Together, they’ve delivered makeovers to senior communities, such as St. Paul’s Senior Services, Vi at La Jolla Village, and Belmont Village. Ahern has also expanded her team to Aliso Viejo in Orange County.

Every recipient’s makeover is paired with a photo shoot. Recipients are also given hard copies of their “top five photos” and a goodie bag of cosmetics.

the glama projectPhoto by Lauren McCormick Photography

Although she’s volunteered hours of her time to the cause, Ahern says it is she who is most humbled by the experience. “Their humbleness, life stories, wisdom, and their outlook on life is a priceless gift they can give you if you just take the time to sit down and listen,” she says.

Ahern’s most memorable encounter was with Rimma, a member of St. Paul’s Senior Services. “She was giddy that day, and I thought it was her normal demeanor,” Ahern says. “Amid her incredible story, she said the words, ‘You saved me,’ and it’s something I’ll never forget.”

The public can support the cause, which Ahern hopes to expand, by donating goods. The charity accepts gifts of unopened makeup, scarves, and costume jewelry.

For Celida Abarca Vélez, a participant at St. Paul’s, the project is one worth rallying behind. “Before, I didn’t have much to be happy about,” Vélez says. “After this makeover, I feel alive and want to dance.”


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

The SoCal (Social Calendar!)

From black-tie galas to costumed 5Ks, these events will keep your social calendar full—and you feeling good

High-Tech Fundraising

San Diego–based companies like DonationMatch, Coin Up, and Classy are modernizing the world of philanthropy

Happy Holidays From San Diego Magazine

We scrapped the card and made a video
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Charitable Events

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Problem With Bright Red Tuna
    Many Americans still think bright red tuna means it’s fresher (it’s not)
  2. First Look: Animae
    Puffer Malarkey Restaurants unveil 5.5 million-dollar pan-Asian concept
  3. The Hunt For San Diego's Best Chicken Wings
    How wings became the No. 1 kickoff food in the U.S., and our hunt for the best
  4. Jason Mraz and his Historic Coffee Bean
    The singer and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters unveil the first California-grown Geisha coffee
  5. The Best Chicken Wings In San Diego
    The results of food critic Troy Johnson’s epic quest for the city’s best tiny chicken
  6. How San Diego Are You?
    Take our quiz to see where you land on the newcomer to old-timer spectrum
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags