connect / 2014

Bringing Beauty Home

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Beauty Bus Foundation

We will bring beauty home and connect Angelenos through volunteerism, our In-Home Visits, Pop-Up Salons and our Bag of Beauty Program.


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

We will bring beauty home and connect Angelenos through volunteerism, our In-Home Visits, Pop-Up Salons and our Bag of Beauty Program.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Beauty Bus Foundation brings beauty home to chronically or terminally ill individuals and their caregivers. For the past five years, Beauty Bus volunteers have provided so many moments of hope and respite to clients and caregivers. It is now time to create the optimal volunteer experience. Every aspect of our three core programs (In-Home Visits, Pop-Up Salons and Bag of Beauty) depend on the time and commitment of our trained volunteers. We do not exist without them. By streamlining our system and minimizing any barrier to entry – this will ensure that we can capture potential volunteer excitement and convert them to volunteers quickly. Resulting in an increase in the number of clients, services and bags we deliver.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

After five years we recognize that our volunteers come to Beauty Bus because they are drawn to our mission. It is time to create a volunteer program that is easy to use and in line with how so many are already scheduling their time. Currently, the In-Home Program centers on the date requested by the patient/caregiver and can be long for both staff and volunteers. We have started looking into purchasing salon systems. There are a few that allow us a quick fix. However, a salon system would be a stand-alone system. We currently house our client and volunteer in excel sheets and in our database. In a perfect world, adapting our current database and/or finding a way to make the salon systems work with our database would provide a solution for scheduling and evolve our unique volunteer program from a hand-holding endeavor to one ready for growth and the 21st century. With current tools and automation, we believe we can switch this entire process and serve more people. We are also looking to this system to support future growth. We believe that the system should actually revolve around the availability of the beauty professional and beauty buddy – our volunteers!

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CONNECT today? In 2050?

In addition to our clients, Beauty Bus develops a deep and mutually beneficial relationship with our volunteers. The interaction that takes place on a Beauty Bus Foundation visit is unique. Clients and volunteers develop new perspectives about what living with a chronic or terminal illness looks like. The subtle change that happens is raising social awareness about the populations we serve. Our volunteers are changing their community as they work toward a more inclusive society focused on opportunity for those caring for and living with a chronic or terminal condition. Since our founding we have seen 5,000 clients, provided 4,000 services and delivered 16,000 bags. And we have only begun to scratch the surface of the nearly 50,000 Angelenos living with chronic or terminal conditions, who qualify for our services. Success in 2050 would mean that Beauty Bus is an integrated part of the pallative care services that hospital and social service agencies recommend to clients and caregivers across Los Angeles County. Perhaps our most profound accomplishment is in generating connection and the show of support in the forms of referrals we receive from those in the healthcare fields. Nurses, doctors and social workers are telling their patients and families about Beauty Bus because they have seen first hand the powerful transformation that comes from the human interaction during a hair cut or a manicure.

Whom will your project benefit?

When we started Beauty Bus, it was clear to us that, disease does not discriminate. We see a gap between “quality of care” and “quality of life.” It is in this gap that we work.

Beauty Bus serves chronically or terminally ill men, women and children with the following diseases or conditions: ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Spinal Cord Injuries, Stroke, Other Select Neuromuscular or Motor Neuron Diseases…AND their caregivers.

Beauty Bus programs benefit a multitude of individuals. Our programs will benefit the clients and caregivers we serve, their family members, as well as our social service and hospital partners.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Beauty Bus Foundation benefits from strong collaboration and volunteer support in many areas of operation. Beauty Bus currently works with over twenty social service partners including: ALS Association Golden West Chapter, National MS Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, UCLA Radiation Oncology, USC Keck Hospital, City of Hope, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Rose Room Hospice, Pomona Valley Medical Center, Leeza’s Care Connection, Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center, No Worries Now, VITAS Hospice, Parkinson’s Resource Organization, The Stroke Association, Concern Foundation and We Spark.

Every year we are deepening our relationships with current partners and adding new partners. Collaboration with these partners is critical because we are able to: 1) Reach more individuals who would otherwise not know about Beauty Bus 2) Add value to our partners programs by making interactions with clients and caregivers more meaningful 3) Build community among all the individuals involved in the process of caring for and advocating for those living with chronic or terminal conditions. In addition, to the tremendous partnerships in our program area, Beauty Bus has successful collaborations with a number of beauty companies and the Professional Beauty Association. These relationships are responsible for the million dollars in product donations which are used at all of our events, visits and our Bag of Beauty Program.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
  • Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

By streamlining the volunteer application and training process and creating an online scheduling system that meets the needs of those providing services and support, we will increase the rate of volunteerism and create and publicize real time volunteer opportunities, creating an outlet for Angelenos to volunteer informally. More volunteers engaging with the chronically and terminally ill, along with Beauty Bus becoming an integral and referred service within the healthcare community will increase the social and emotional support of residents. We service a cross section of the community and already have volunteers and clients moving across traditional residential boundaries. With civic minded volunteers, there will be more voices advocating for the needs of those in their community.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

The outcome of Beauty Bus services is highly intangible. We rely on both quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate and measure the impact our programs have on the clients, caregivers, their families, volunteers and the larger community.

As such we are constantly striving to refine and enhance our methods for data collection. Currently, Beauty Bus Foundation measures outcomes by tracking the number of services, clients and bags delivered.

Since our founding we have provided over 5,000 services, seen 4,000 people and delivered over 16,000 Bags of Beauty. We seek feedback from our client, volunteers and sponsors in a systematic way after each experience. We also have an open email and office policy, seeking input from our clients, volunteers and sponsors.

In addition, we track:

  • Program supply donations including beauty products donated by beauty companies and individuals. Program supplies are used for events, visits and our Bag of Beauty Program.
  • Volunteers including Beauty Professionals, Beauty Buddies and Beauty Ambassadors who are available to participate and those who actually provide/go on In-Home visits and/or attend Pop-up Salons and other events.
  • Volunteer hours in 2013 Beauty Bus Foundation logged over 1800 volunteer hours.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

At this point in our organizational growth, we will need to automate a certain aspect of our program or hire more staff to meet the demands of scheduling. We are committed to being an organization that is available and accessible to our clients and volunteers. With our limited resources, we find that moving to a system that allows us to work more in line with how people are living and scheduling their lives we will better manage future growth.

Automation of certain aspects of our scheduling will free up time for us to provide additional personal attention and finetune other areas of the organization. Our programs work well to service the needs of the chronically and terminally ill clients and caregivers. With this population continuing to grow and needing services, we know that changes now will better prepare us to navigate the healthcare system changes in years to come.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We have made some adjustments to our volunteer program that has put us in the position to make the necessary changes outlined above. We have conducted the research and lined up the necessary consultants to support our work.

We have a full staff, a committed board and a detailed plan.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

The two main challenges we anticipate are the long and cumbersome paperwork and training process.

Purchasing, integrating and training volunteers on an automated scheduling system for In-Home Visits and Pop-Up Salons.

The number of volunteers (250) has remained consistent and our conversion rate (which is the percentage of potential volunteers who attend a training and then actually volunteer) has remained at 50% for the past two years.

With changes in these two key volunteer experiences, we are confident that the number of volunteers and our conversation rate will increase. Thus increasing the number of clients and caregivers we serve though our programs. These automations will make for a strong and sustainable volunteer program that will ultimately lead to future expansion.

What resources does your project need?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach