care for yourself by caring for others

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i have found that when life is busy, even with wonderful things and people i love, it can feel hectic and overwhelming. doing things that aren’t alllll about me ends up being a great way to slow my mind and relax. magically, i’ve found that helping others is an unexpected form of self-care!
for a couple of years i volunteered at project open hand (poh) once a week. poh is a non-profit that was founded in 1985 and delivers food to seniors and people battling critical illness. they also provide daily meals at their locations in san francisco and oakland. this is not your average food kitchen! poh collaborated with UC san francisco school of medicine in a study published in january of 2017. the study demonstrated how nutritious food has healing powers that are crucial for helping the critically ill.
volunteering at poh proved to be a wonderful break from my hectic schedule, where i could play just a teensy role in getting food prepped to be provided to people in need. while helping out in the kitchen, i primarily peeled and chopped vegetables. in the grocery center i sorted and packed food in the warehouse – both activities were super simple but extremely fulfilling!
in addition to the awesome kitchen, grocery center and meal deliveries, poh also has a radical indoor greenhouse at the polk street location. it’s unlike any greenhouse i’ve seen before – reminding me of a science fiction movie! it has veggies planted in these wheels, which rotate at a slow pace around the light in the center.
the greenhouse garden grows veggies like red sails leaf lettuce, freckles romaine lettuce, basil and micro greens. it can produce a lot of leafy greens at once! for example, if they dedicate all space on the wheel for basil and then use all the leaves produced for a sauce, it can be used in up to 1,400 meals! to see the awesome video that explains how it works, click here.
to help the cause, please click here to donate and here for more information on how to start volunteering! also, if you’re in the mood for a tear jerker, here’s a heartwarming video that gives a more complete idea of how project open hand changes lives – https://www.openhand.org/about-us
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empact northwest is a non-profit organization providing immediate disaster response, rescue training and medical education for underserved communities. one of skinSALVATION’s AMAZING clients volunteers with this organization and was in haiti last year helping rebuild the community!
founded in 2010 in response to the haiti earthquake, empact is dedicated to providing technical rescue service, direct medical care and education around the world to those who need it most, regardless of national or political affiliation.
they strive to complete their mission with minimum bureaucracy and a maximum involvement of volunteers. empact also offers training to fire department, law enforcement, search and rescue, and other emergency response personnel. they welcome input, so if you have suggestions please contact them by sending an email here.
 on sept 9th, empact posted this update on their facebook page regarding relief and aid provided during this brutal hurricane season: 

-hurricane harvey: all empact personnel have returned from the texas/louisiana border area.-hurricane

-hurricane irma: empact is actively monitoring the situation in partnership with the cajun navy and offering what assistance we can. It is our hope that residents of florida have heeded the warnings and evacuated.

-mexico earthquake: empact continues to monitor the situation in southern mexico in partnership with INSARAG and the UN OCHA. no request for international assistance has been made yet.

as you can see, empact is helping communities all over the place and needs support! to donate to their mission click here.

i had an epiphany to give back!

when asked if there was a specific charity i know of and want to support, two places immediately came to mind: epiphany center and friendship house. many of my loved ones and close friends have recovered from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. i know how hard it is to get sober! there have been times where i felt that without the support of my community, i would not have been able to start my walk on the path towards success. for example, i am not sure if i could have left my previous career to start the journey toward being an esthetician if i didn’t have my loved ones cheering for me along the way!

change is scary and deciding to address an addiction is not only making a commitment to change but also relearning how to interact in this world. for this reason, getting clean is much more than just putting down the alcohol or drugs – and these two programs focus on the human as a whole, versus solely the addiction.

epiphany center provides holistic care to those who are struggling by focusing on multiple types of growth: physical, social-emotional, intellectual and spiritual! they have a residential recovery program for women and their young children that provides everything from vocational training groups to auricular acupuncture. their goals, in their words, are simply: “to keep children safe, to strengthen parent-child relationships and to keep families together by reducing risk factors.” in doing so, they impact the future of our community.

 

friendship house association of american indians is “dedicated to stopping the cycle of dysfunction that has been passed down from one generation to the next”. they don’t see their clients as simply clients, but instead as family. they have an 80-bed residential facility that people can stay in for up to 6 months. during this time, they work to empower themselves through resume development, computer training, job training and housing assistance.

whether or not you or a loved one has struggled with addiction, it is evident that the goals these two companies have are commendable! the goal is to help treat the addiction to empower the human. interestingly enough, skinSALVATION has the same idea – help treat the skin to empower the human. a donation to these organizations expands their programs to reach a greater population in need.

if you would like to help, you can donate directly to the epiphany center or friendship house.

helping our friends of friends of albania

each month skinSALVATION gives to a cause personally close to a team member’s heart. this month we were able to help an organization that has been a huge part of my brother’s life. in 2009, my older brother (who i always thought was a super human) joined the peace corps and started his 27 month assignment in albania. he came back speaking a hybrid of albanian and english, hand-in-hand with his now fiance and bragging about being named “personazh i viti” (person of the year) by the mayor. a piece of his heart was left an ocean away and he wanted to find a way to stay involved. that was when they both found Friends of Albania, a non-profit organization that connects previous peace corps volunteers to current volunteers to support small, community-driven projects.

both have been active members for over five years now and have since taken on leadership roles. alex, my brother’s fiance is president and my brother, brett is treasurer. it wasn’t until recently that i really understood how impactful these projects were to the albanian community. the nation is still adjusting post-communism and this organization encourages community, equality and positive growth.
the most recent grant was used to rehabilitate two community parks to create safe, clean and fun public spaces for the village youth to hang out. not only did this project create a playground for a local kindergarten where more than 80 kids play every day, but nearly 200 members of the community came together to create the space.
the project before that was a youth radio exchange designed to encourage youth involvement with digital media and inspire the creation of diverse creative content. many local tv/radio stations have been running since the 80’s when the country was still under communism and content was heavily monitored and regulated. this opened the conversation of past and present media and got participants excited to create new, quality content.
for information on how you can get involved, feel free to contact me or visit www.friendsofalbania.net.

FINDING FULFILLMENT IN CHANGING LIVES

 

team sS volunteering at dress for success – we are women, for women empowerment!

hey sS’ers, kim here.  long time since i’ve written a post – i’ve been busy with quite a few big game changing projects in the works!  more announcements about this about all that to come soon, but i wanted to share a little bit about something we’ve been doing at sS that i’m very excited about, and how will inspire you in some way. 🙂

HOW ACNE GAVE ME A SENSE OF PURPOSE IN LIFE
many of you may know my story, that i founded sS after finding the regular ‘spa’ facial world boring. when i was part of the opening team at remede spa (within san francisco’s st. regis hotel) all the way back in 2005, i was at the highest end, 5-star luxury hotel spa in the city. it was beautiful, we had thorough training and regularly had high profile clients. i also had a great work/life flow: my workweek consisted of wednesday to sunday like this: i’d take bikram class at funky door yoga on new montgomery st. at 12noon, get into work by 2pm to have a leisurely homemade lunch, before starting my 3-9pm work shift.

however, i felt unfulfilled with my work.

after i found acne, and saw, with time, how well the work worked, i felt inspired, of service to my community, and finally, TRULY FULFILLED.. because what i was actually slanging now was empowerment to the people – not just short-lived relaxation, a feel good face rub or expensive diamond creams.

fast forward 12 years later (!), it’s now 2017 and i’ve had skinSALVATION for 9 years now. i know that our work is truly life changing and amazing, and i’m ready to layer on the next level of fulfillment, in service to our community.

FULLFILLMENT : THE NEXT LEVEL
in order to do that, i’ve committed to donating a portion of our clinic profits to legit, charitable organizations every month. in years past, my donations were random, but since this january, with the help of my team at sS SF, we’ve been making it a regular + structured thing.

we are also doing our best to create the time and space to physically volunteer individually or as a group, whenever we can.  check out the photo above, of team sS at dress for success just last friday!

HOW WE’VE BEEN WALKING OUR TALK
so far this year, we’ve supported the following charities.  we’ll promise to write more in depth about why we’ve chosen these particular ones, and our personal connection to them.

EMPACT NORTHWEST (international medical crisis support – my best friend, tamara, used to run this org, and is still involved)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD (in honor of mike pence – duh)

ACLU (in honor of donald trump – duh)

DRESS FOR SUCCESS (the team volunteered there this friday, it was super fun!)

UNITED WAY OF GENESEE COUNTY (in support of the flint, michigan water crisis)

AMERICARES

COLEMAN ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

AIDS LIFECYCLE (in support of many friends doing the ride AS I TYPE, like RIGHT NOW!)

RIDE FOR A REASON (to support oakland’s public schools)

LA CASA DE LAS MADRES (a local + kick ass org that provides shelter, advocacy and support services to women, teens, and children exposed to and at risk of abuse and domestic violence)

DALY CITY YOUTH HEALTH CENTER (i grew up partly within the daly city school system, and have very good friends that have served as marriage + family therapists there)

GRATITUDE TO YOU
with your continued support of my business – buying products, coming in for treatments, tipping your sS estheticians (to be closer in line with the hourly compensation rate they’d normally make at standard spas & salons), doing what we tell you to do to clear up and telling all your friends about us –  we can continue supporting our acne-prone community to be healthier and happier – and on a larger, more impactful humanitarian level – these charities, for years to come.

THE BIKE PHOTO

ok so you may have stumbled upon this blog piece from our instagram post, and want to know what’s up with these super pro looking bikers.  they are 3 friends of friends of sS that we’ve allocated our june donations to, to ride the grueling, uber challenging AIDS lifecycle for us, so we don’t have to train like crazy, haha. (if you don’t know about it, participants ride a bicycle from SF to LA over the course of a week to raise money for AIDS research + support). they are now on day 5 of 7, but it’s never too late to send some $$ love their way!

if anything, i’m happy to just raise awareness about this amazing cause, and shine the spotlight on some of the real-life brave riders i know that are doing it.  one of them is an sS’ers sibling, another is an sS’ers best friend, and the other a cool strong-legged friend of theirs!  feel free to support each one of them with this link here, here and here 😀

OUR (acne-safe) THANK YOU, TO YOU!
i like to think that our sS’ers are on the same wavelength as us on these kinds of things, so if you donate your time OR money to any of the charities we tell you about, show us your confirmation (even it’s just one hour, or $5!) and we’ll give you an sS gift as our (acne-safe) high-five to you!

SO MUCH GRATITUDE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for putting your faith into our process, and allowing us to do the important, life-changing and fulfilling work we love to do.  we very much appreciate the opportunity to make this our everyday, giving us purpose in life 🙂