Homeless women to receive much-needed pampering at spa day

A woman recovering from methamphetamine addiction wants to help show other women in need that they're still beautiful - by organizing a spa day.

Michell Ross used to be homeless and addicted to meth. Now she wants to help other women in need

Now sober after more than a decade of crystal meth addiction, Main Street Project resident Michell Ross is organizing a spa day to help homeless women forget about their struggles and boost their self-esteem. (Cindy Titus/Main Street Project)

A woman recovering from methamphetamine addiction wants to help show other women in need that they're still beautiful.

Main Street Project will host a spa day for homeless women this May.

Michell Ross, community member and volunteer at Main Street, came up with the idea. She pitched it to the administration and started planning the event months ago. She says her battles with addiction initially slowed the process but she's finally ready to move ahead.

Ross will be 90 days sober at the end of April. After more than a decade of using crystal meth, she says what she really needed was the inspiration and, more importantly, the confidence to get herself clean.

"I didn't go to detox, I didn't go to treatment, I just did it myself, which surprised me and now I can't believe I'm here," says Ross. "I just looked at myself and said 'I don't want to look like that anymore. I want to change everything.'"

Ross participated in the Runway to Change fashion show fundraiser back in February. The event raised nearly $20,000 for Main Street Project. Ross shared her story with the audience at the Fort Garry Hotel before walking the runway -- dressed up and styled in new clothing.

This is where she says she found her confidence and her drive to get clean.

Ross was inspired by her participation in the Runway To Change fundraiser, where she walked the runway with former Main Street client Phil Goss. (Jason Halstead/Main Street Project)

Ross hopes to give other women a similar experience. But she wants this to be a more relaxing and private one.

Cindy Titus, communications co-ordinator at Main Street, says the spa event will be held in the shelter itself, and will offer hair, nail, makeup and relaxation services. They're considering closing the shelter to men during the day in order to give women a more comfortable experience.

Titus got to know Ross at the Runway to Change event and says she believes it made a world of difference.

"Women who experience homelessness are literally often just trying to get by," says Titus. "Things like doing their hair or nails are not really things that they think of. When you're trying to survive, it's not really a priority."

A date hasn't been set for the event yet. Organizers are hoping to get more donations before finalizing the schedule. Ross says they already have volunteers to do hair and nails but she's still looking for supplies. She's hoping people will donate gently used clothing, new bras, underwear, socks, summer shoes and spa supplies such as soap, shampoo, makeup, nail polish and epsom salts. She's also hoping to have snacks for participants to enjoy during their treatments.

"We'll make use of whatever we get but I don't want to tell [the women] that I have this, this and this and then not have it," says Ross. "Especially for people with addictions. We spend most of our money on [the addiction]. They've probably never done this before. I've never been to a salon to get my nails done. I just want to give that to them, however I can."

'I want the women to feel good'

Ross says wants the event to be a day for women like her to be able to clear their heads and forget about their struggles. She says that can make all the difference in the world to an addict.

She's even arranged for someone to come and take before-and-after photos of the women to let them see the difference at the end of the day. Getting to see herself in the photos from the runway event played a big part in inspiring her to get sober.

"I want the women to feel good about themselves and maybe that will inspire them to change," says Ross. "They can look at where I came from and where I am now and even if I only inspire one person at least I did something."

About the Author

Aviva Jacob holds a degree in journalism from the University of King's College. Avi, along with a small team, was the winner of the 2018 Emerge Media Award in audio storytelling. You can email Avi with story ideas at