Shirely Raines

Shirley Raines – Bringing Beauty and Hope to The Streets

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.

The Pain

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…

Finding Purpose

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.

Taking Off

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.

Additional Resources:

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?

Take Action:

  • 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

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.
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