KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's something to be said for a fresh start. That can be as simple as how you feel after a haircut, or it can be a lot more complicated than that. Either way, it just feels good.
One Kansas City, Missouri, nonprofit spends its days providing fresh starts for a couple of very specific groups.
"Look good, feel good" is an adage that’s true for pets and for people.
The Grooming Project teaches people who have a history of drug addiction and/or crime to become certified dog groomers.
But that title means so much more than using clippers and giving doggy baths.
"I could be having a bad day, and then come in here, and the dogs make my whole day different,” said Jeanne Dennison, a current Grooming Project student.
Dennison also lives in the program’s family dorm.
"I came in here with like 9 or 10 warrants, and now I have none," Dennison said.
Case manager Barbie Daniels has been where these students are, living a life ravaged by drugs.
Now, her job description includes helping them tackle any legal issues.
"Have you ever seen the 'Rocky' movies?” Daniels said. “I feel like Mickey in the corner. I'm just cheering them on! People going from hopeless, to having some amount of hope — having goals, and plans for their future, and they have these great things going on in their lives."
On a normal day, you’ll find Amy Hall at the center of The Grooming Project operation, running the complicated calendar for the day.
Amy's a former student too, who spent more than 20 years addicted to meth. She said The Grooming Project changed her life, and she lives to see that change in others.
"We groom these people how to be men and how to be women," Hall said. “I get paid for being spiritually fulfilled."
Hours and hours of washes and trims happen inside this KCMO agency. And in the end, for every soul who comes through these doors, a transformation does as well.
"You can tell a difference in them from before and after,” Dennison said, referring to the dogs. “And you can see a work of art in them."