Shirley Raines makes the homeless community in Los Angeles’s skid row neighborhood feel human. She is the founder of Beauty 2 The Streetz, a nonprofit that provides free food, clothing, hair, and makeup services to the homeless. And Shirley is now the CNN Hero of the Year! Who is she and what inspired her to take on this mission? Let’s find out.
In 1990 Raines’ 2-year-old son Demetrius passed away from accidental poisoning while at his grandma’s house. This event created a lot of pain for Shirley Raines. The pain lasted for many years. And she did not know what to do about it. She struggled to understand what her purpose was in life. Until one day…
Six years ago, Shirley visited Skid Row with a friend from church who asked her to volunteer. She met a lot of homeless people and realized how much help they needed. Not just in finding a home, but in finding themselves and their own worth and beauty.
Shirley started to volunteer each Saturday. As she got to know the homeless, they often complimented her on her makeup, hair, and style. She started to offer to “make up” the homeless. They loved it, she loved it, they loved her and she loved them. She found purpose. So she started an outdoor beauty salon to serve the homeless.
Raines started sharing her efforts on Instagram with photos and even live-streaming some of her events. Things took off. She formed her non-profit, Beauty 2 The Streetz, and her followers quickly began donating to grow Shirley’s impact. Her Instagram following grew, now over 200,000 people, including many beauty professionals such as licensed hairstylists, barbers, make-up artists. Many of them regularly donate money to keep the services rolling. Others donate their time to help Shirley serve the homeless.
A Life of Impact
Shirley’s boldness, caring, courage, consistency, and desire to take action has led to making a real impact in people’s lives. And serving as a role model and inspiration to others. Check out this inspiring video that tells Shirley Raines’s story and then think about what you can do to help others in need.
- Learn more about Shirley Raines and her organization, Beauty 2 The Streetz
- Learn facts about youth homelessness here
- Read other InspireMyKids stories about people helping the homeless
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults that exhibit caring
- Check out other inspiring girls and women on IMK
- Read IMK’s list of great quotes for kids about caring
Topics for Discussion:
- What sparked Shirley to take action and do something to help the homeless?
- What character traits does Shirley exhibit?
- What is something you see wrong with the world around you? How can you help fix it? What is one small thing you can do? How about a big thing?
- Visit Beauty 2 The Streetz to see how to help Khloe with her cause
- Here is a list of 3 other ways that kids can help the homeless