The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

New UI GlamourGals volunteer, paint nails of Melrose Meadows Retirement Community residents

Members went to Melrose Meadows Retirement Community Sunday, and provided companionship while painting residents’ nails.
Isabella Tisdale
A volunteer laughs with a resident during a Glamour Gals event at Melrose Meadows on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. Glamour gals aims to go to one retirement home per month and paint resident’s nails and make crafts.

Nail polish bottles, lotion, bracelet beads, and string were spread across two pink tables as members of the University of Iowa chapter of GlamourGals painted the nails of residents at the Melrose Meadows Retirement Community on Feb. 18.

UI second-year Paige Stessman launched the on-campus chapter at the beginning of the spring 2024 semester, part of the larger GlamourGals Foundation founded in 2001 by Rachel Doyle.

The national organization’s purpose is to empower intergenerational connections by having younger volunteers work to lift the weight of social isolation experienced by senior residents currently in care.

The UI chapter’s mission is to volunteer at retirement homes in the Iowa City area and provide companionship for the residents of these homes. They accomplish this by having conversations with and providing makeovers and manicures to residents.

“I work in a retirement home back home and love my residents there,” Stessman said. “I also have grandparents that don’t live close, and I don’t get to visit them that often.”

She said she felt encouraged to help residents who might otherwise not get visitors.

The GlamourGals hosted their first event at the Melrose Meadows Retirement Community on Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nearly 15 students painted nails, made bracelets, and chatted with several residents.

When the mass email for GlamourGals was out to all UI students and gained popularity, Stessman said she could only have a limited number of volunteers help at each event.

Because of this, she plans to let people who did not volunteer at the February event join future meetings.

GlamourGals volunteer and UI third-year Elizabeth Troy had a memorable time painting nails and making bracelets with Melrose resident Marge VeDepo.

Troy said a highlight of the event was the bracelet-making. Troy made Valentine’s Day-themed bracelets for herself while helping VeDepo make bracelets that included the names of her grandchildren.

Troy also painted VeDepo’s nails to match her blue outfit.

Fellow Melrose resident Carol Jones said she got her nails painted with purple nail polish and glitter to match her wedding ring.

“It was nice because everybody was friendly and really nice,” Jones said. “I didn’t remember that [GlamourGals] was coming in. They had to come get me and I’m really glad I came.”

GlamourGals volunteer and UI third-year student Maya Barros said she enjoyed working with people and felt excited to join GlamourGals for this reason.

“I really wanted to interact with another piece of the community that I hadn’t seen yet,” Barros said. “I’m really glad I did because it’s been quite the experience.”

Barros said her experience was amazing because she met so many kind people at Melrose and got the chance to hear the residents’ stories.

Katie Leichty, UI first-year student and another GlamourGals volunteer, said she felt inspired by the organization’s mission.

“I really wanted to attend this event because I think it’s a great opportunity to connect with an older generation and hear stories about their past and get to know them on a deeper level,” Leichty said.

Leichty enjoyed her experience at Sunday’s event and hopes to come back for future events.

“The lady I talked to, we talked about traveling and she talked about all these beautiful museums, which is something I’m really interested in and hopefully we’ll go to in the future,” Leichty said.

The event wrapped up with many residents thanking the volunteers for their companionship, providing makeovers, and making bracelets with them.

“I’m happy with how it turned out, and that we were able to talk with the residents, paint their nails, and have a good time.”

As for GlamourGals’ long-term goals, Stessman said she hopes the organization continues even after she graduates.

“I hope to continue going to different retirement homes in the area, talk with the residents, and build a good community with the girls that are wanting to do it,” Stessman said. “I also want to make people happy and have a good time.”

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About the Contributor
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.