Local group decides to provide Christmas makeover to deserving woman
Lisa Korslin moved to Stevens Point hoping her family would have a better life. She and her husband took new jobs – hers part-time so she could spend parts of the day raising the boys, now ages 13, 11 and 9, as well – and they moved into a house.
Now, just about two short years later, her world is upside down. Unforeseen medical bills arose, she lost a baby and then a fire destroyed the house Sept. 20.
Little did she know a small group of women calling themselves “Angels of Portage County” would take her under their wings and provide friendship, support and a new lease on life for Christmas.
“I cried,” she said. “They are changing my life.”
Since September, close friends and Stevens Point residents Michelle Kowalski and Christine Pahmeier wanted to celebrate their good fortune by providing the same to another woman.
For months, the women have been spearheading “Queen for a Day,” a full day of pampering for one down-on-her-luck woman in Portage County. They contacted several local organizations such as Evergreen Community Initiatives, Lexi’s Love, YMCA and CAP Services in search of referrals. One came from Tiffani Krueger of Evergreen, who works with the meal program and helped the Korslin family transition after the house fire.
After interviewing, the group knew they had to help Korslin, who spoke softly, never looked up to make eye-contact, and seemed to have little if any confidence, Kowalski said.
“We have so much to give, we want to be an inspiration to others,” she said. “There are so many struggles, but every woman is special … we want Lisa to feel like a woman, to bring back some normalcy, having some coffee and sitting with some new girlfriends. We just wanted to give back.”
A recent Friday this month, Korslin started anew.
“Since everything that’s happened, I’ve been depressed, I’ve been angry, I don’t understand why this has all happened. It’s hard sometimes keeping everything inside because I don’t want to bother anybody,” she said, tears running down her face. “Our days are so busy, I’m focusing on working and trying to replace everything for the boys, my husband, cleaning … It’s hard.
“In a way I feel selfish, maybe there’s a girl out there who deserves it more, that’s how I feel, but I know I need to do something,” she said. “To do this, for myself, for my family, it’s not just the makeup. It will help me feel better on the inside and that gives me hope.
“What these girls are doing for me, it’s just so heartwarming,” Korslin said.
Her day began shopping for necessities – a new coat and snow pants, neither of which she had on a day that called for winter weather advisories across the area. Then came nails and lunch followed by a massage, hair and makeup. Local companies also donated hair supplies, an outfit and jewelry.
Several times tears welled and sometimes spilled down her cheeks, but a new emotion also emerged more and more often throughout the day: laughter.
“The power of giving is truly greater than the joy of receiving,” said Christine Pahmeier, makeup artist at Salon Prestige of Stevens Point, which donated space, staff and time for the haircut, color and style as well as the massage.
“We witnessed first-hand, a shy, down on her luck woman who felt unworthy, ashamed and broken turn into a butterfly before our own eyes,” she said. “During each stage of the makeover, we observed her look at herself differently. Her shoulders back, eyes forward sparkling with confidence. Personally, it was an honor to do this. It warms my heart to see a woman regain her power and think she is beautiful.”
Currently, Korslin and her family are living in a friend’s basement while they have worked to raise funds to remodel a trailer – also donated to them after the fire. P.J. Jacobs Junior High School and the 4-H Club are just a couple of groups she wants to recognize for their efforts.
“It’s amazing to the community to give to us the way they have,” she said. “There’s numerous people who have helped us. Words just can’t explain how grateful we are for what people have done for us.”
That includes allowing her to be Queen, not just for that one day, but each day since, Korslin said.
“When the makeup is washed away, the new clothes are in the laundry, and her hair goes flat, her problems still exist,” Pahmeier said. “But the way she looks at them and the capacity to solve them will be different. Lisa may not be able to control every bad situation, but she can control her attitude and how she deals with it. She now has the confidence to look into schools, plan her education, and start volunteering in order to pay her blessings forward.
“This experience was not just a makeover, it is a make better,” she said. “Because we helped change her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.”
Now her plans can include others as well, Korslin said.
“It makes me want to do something for someone else, too, when we get back on our feet,” she said.
Those donating to Queen for a Day include Salon Prestige Owner Jaime Mlodik who provided the space, haircut, color and style; Michelle Hopp, stylist/massage therapist at Salon Prestige for massage; Kowalski, who donated the manicure, winter coat and snow pants; Pahmeier, makeup artist at Salon Prestige; Lisa Rychter and Sarah Theroux, who donated a complete LuLaRoe outfit; Jenna Lind of JL Photography, who did photograph memories of the day; and CosmoProf who donated hair supplies and jewelry.
Kowalski and Pahmeier would like to make Queen for a Day an annual gift. Contact Pahmeier if interested.