Around the UFT

Queens Vocational and Technical HS students serve seniors

Beauty’s more than skin deep

Miller Photography Seniors enjoy the new designs, colors and sparkles on their nails.
Miller Photography Quartuccio (left) demonstrates for a student as Bharat Shah gets his hair cut.
Miller Photography Pamela Parker’s hair is cut by a student under the watchful eye of Assistant Principal Jeanette Newman (right).

One day a month, students from Queens Vocational and Technical HS give about 100 manicures, facials and haircuts to senior citizens at the nearby Sunnyside Community Services center. But the senior citizens aren’t the only ones benefitting from the free service. Students gain confidence in their cosmetology skills and rack up hours toward their professional state licenses. It’s been going on for 30 years and has been a hit since it began. “Students love it,” said cosmetology teacher Heidi Quartuccio. “They can practice the skills they’ve learned on mannequins so it’s fun — and they get over the first-time jitters of working on a real person.” The senior citizens, she added, “enjoy the one-on-one attention: Someone is doing their nails, spending half an hour talking to them — and they’re getting beautified on top of it!” The students bring in the latest nail art and, Quartuccio said, “seniors walk out with sparkles and their hair done. They are thrilled.” Rita Manton, the director of volunteer services at Sunnyside, said that the seniors “keep asking me over the summer, ‘When will the students be back?’ They are very anxious for the new school year to begin.” Although students may be shy at first, Manton said that by the end of the year they have formed friendships. The seniors, she said, have “shared their life stories. It’s so much more than the service — it’s the social interaction. It’s an amazing program and we never want to give it up!”

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