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Volunteerism.

BET YOU'VE HEARD THE PROVERB. "GIVE A MAN A FISH AND YOU FEED HIM FOR A day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Here's a new one: If you train a Sierra Leonean woman how to relax, roller set, and style a head of hair, you may just save her life. For hair stylist Diane Cole Stevens, the Cinderella Foundation, her nonprofit organization designed to empower African American girls throughout the Washington metropolitan region, was the vehicle to do just that. She'd already helped plenty of local teenagers inviting them for a day of beauty intertwined with life-skill training, tutoring, motivational talks, and etiquette tips. Then she got the calling to do more.

"I never had the desire to go to Africa," says Stevens, who owns the Cole Stevens Salon and Day Spa in Greenbelt, Maryland, which grossed $933,000 last year. However, she was convinced to go to Africa by the woman in charge of missions at her church. In October, Stevens took a team of eight volunteers on a mission to war-torn Sierra Leone to train 100 women in various beauty services so they could use those skills to start businesses. "When I realized that I could help these women realize their dreams, I knew we could change the world."

More and more people are trekking abroad to lend a helping hand. Says Troy Peden, founder of VolunteerAbroad.com: "While there has been a growth in green-eco volunteer work, social welfare and community development type projects are still the most popular."

To make the Sierra Leone mission a success, the Cinderella Foundation partners with 500 local salons, which donate everything from eyebrow tweezers to textbooks, and throws fundraising events to help pay for the three-day trip "They can't wait for us to get back," Stevens says. "They are so hopeful that there's someone who wants to pour knowledge in them."
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Title Annotation:GOING GLOBAL; Diane Cole Stevens with the Cinderella Foundation designed to empower African American girls throughout the Washington metropolitan region
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2008
Words:318
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