My True Self: In the next segment of the program, Penzone encourages the girls to celebrate their true selves from the inside out by reflecting on tough topics that teens face and exploring their own values. The girls learn how self-confidence can guide one through tough times and how to be true to themselves and their beliefs. To celebrate their true colors, the girls tie-dye Debbie’s Club T-shirts.
My True Beauty: In the final phase, Penzone introduces the girls to their own unique style and look through hair, makeup and fashion. The girls learn about their face shapes, body shapes and personal styles, and frequently Penzone taps her salon staff to help the girls learn how to accentuate each. She’ll encourage the girls to bring the outfit that makes them feel the best, and the professional team will help their girls with their hair and makeup. This portion of the program often ends with a photoshoot.
Since initiating the program, Penzone has seen some incredibly positive response. Not only have the girls themselves shared stories about how the process empowered them, but the mothers of girls, who have gone home and opened up, have called to thank Penzone. School guidance counselors have shared feedback on the positive changes they’ve noted with girls that have been in the program. And Debbie’s Club program ‘graduates’ have found their way back into the salons to work at the front desk, become active in the salon’s prom squad marketing campaign or work as Debbie’s Club camp counselors.
“Our brand is all about giving back, and we do it as a way to say thank you to the community for all they’ve given to us,” says Penzone. “And, now our Grand Salons are opening the doors to a third generation of clients.”
What You Can Do?
Debra Penzone encourages any salon owners with an interest in developing similar girl empowerment programs to offer their expertise to the girl-focused groups in their own communities. Owners can volunteer themselves or their team members as speakers, or can open salons for events such as teas, parties or sleepovers. In addition, a Debbie’s Club (DebbiesClub.com) book can be used as a tool to walk an owner through structuring their own self-discovery program. Get connected with girls by:
Calling on Counselors: Connect with guidance counselors at junior high and high schools and ask if they are in need of volunteer speakers.
Go Scouting: Towns of almost any size are home to Girl Scout troops and Campfire Girls—find out which meet in your community and call on the troop leaders.
Find Religion: Call local houses of worship and ask if they have a youth coordinator or a religious school or summer camp program.
Align with Like-Minded Organizations: Check out other national girl-empowerment efforts, such as Girls on the Run (girlsontherun.org), Girl Talk (mygirltalk.org) and Ban Bossy (banbossy.com), and look for opportunities to partner with local outreaches.