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Terry Grahl: Founder and CEO of Enchanted Makeovers

Enchanted Makeovers transforms shelters for women and children to help them feel seen, heard, and loved. Beyond providing beautiful decor, Enchanted Makeovers changes lives by giving women and children a space to heal and giving them the tools they need to find hope in trying times. Learn more about their work here!

What inspired you to start Enchanted Makeovers?

When my kids were all in school full time, I decided to start a residential decorating business. My first client was my brother’s employee and I did a redesign of her home using things she already had. The energy in her house was so sad, I could feel that something was off. I left a note saying, “Let me heal your home”, and she called to ask me to do just that. In the process of redoing her home, I learned so much about her life. She opened up to me about her trauma and shared memories about being raised by her grandmother. The stories became part of the home, and the whole thing was a healing process for her. Later on, someone approached her about the beautiful energy in her house and she talked about how I healed her home. That man said he fundraised for shelters for women and children and asked if I would paint part of the shelter. This whole journey started from there, with that very first client.

Can you tell me about that first shelter transformation?

I made a visit to the shelter in January 2007. It was painted all brown, there were boxes being used as dressers, duct tape on the walls, and lights hanging from wires. 30 women and their children all slept in bunk beds from prisons. There was such a heavy energy in the room— how can anyone have hope in a space like that? I left feeling angry because I didn’t have any money or volunteers and didn’t know how I could help, but I had a calling that I needed to do it. It was hard for me to get people to understand how important this was, but eventually I started getting donors on board. I got new mattresses and mattress pads donated from a mattress store, I got bunk beds and cribs donated from a furniture store, and slowly but surely it came together. I learned as I went, and those partnerships and relationships have kept the organization moving forward ever since.

How do the Sacred Sewing Rooms help women in shelters?

Our programs grew naturally beyond decorating shelters once we heard the stories from the women and children and learned what they needed. Our Sacred Sewing Rooms are a dedicated space in the shelter to keep sewing machines, which are all donated. It’s a full sewing room that is stocked with machines, fabric, and everything they need to learn. For the women, sewing is an escape where they don’t have to think about anything else. It can be an amazing coping mechanism. I also encourage an element of giving back in our sewing programs, but it’s not required. A sewing room in St Louis made 250 pillow cases for a local hospital, and a sewing room in Detroit made dresses to send to girls in Africa. The women learn a new skill and are motivated because they know their work is benefiting themselves and others.

What kinds of crafts do you provide to kids in shelters?

We give out lots of handmade items like capes and dolls. The love and positive energy are felt in everything we provide, and it’s healing for both the giver and the recipient. The capes started when I realized that these kids are superheroes who have the power to succeed and maintain a sense of hope even in such hard circumstances. I started off with 25 capes that I brought to the shelter to see how the kids would react, and they loved it. It completely transformed how they saw themselves— they came to life before my eyes and I knew we had something great here. The TODAY Show ended up interviewing me and showed a segment of me dropping off capes for some kids and their moms. It spread the word about us and people from all over the place reached out to donate capes and dolls. It’s a small thing that makes kids feel so special.


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