While the pain inside slowly heals, the outsides of five formerly battered women are radiating with beauty and hope, thanks to the Hesperia United Methodist Women's Career Closet unit and the Hair Precinct salon in Victorville.


"I feel alive," said one woman who was treated to a makeover on Tuesday. "I feel safe. I feel good."


The women whose identities are anonymous have found refuge from their pain at the Victor Valley Domestic Violence Center. The Victorville-based center offers shelter and outreach services to survivors of domestic violence.


Once sufficiently healed, many of the women must look for employment. To help the women get a head start, the United Methodist Women's Career Closet unit connected with the Hair Precinct, a salon located in a storefront at the entrance to Spring Valley Lake. The salon and participating cosmetologists provided more than $1,000 worth of hair styling and makeup services, and the Career Closet gave complete interview-ready outfits to each woman.


"We want to give them a little more self-esteem and put a little more skip in their step," said Dorothy Lett, chair of the Hesperia United Methodist Women's Layette group.


Moreover, the five who received makeovers this week won't be the last ones to receive free haircuts, manicures and makeup. Any other women in similar situation are invited to contact the church to schedule a pampering session, they said.


"This is not a one-shot deal," Lett said. "It's an ongoing project."


"It's constant. It's an ongoing need," added Vera Ervin, chair of Career Closet unit. "They need all the help they can get."


Leisa Lewis, owner of the Hair Precinct, was extremely pleased but not at all surprised that her salon's stylists were so ready and willing to help.


"Without getting gushy, this is what we are," Lewis said. "We're a big family. We help each other out. We want to do whatever we can do to give that little piece of confidence."


Altogether, Hair Precinct has 22 stylists, six nail stylists and one esthetician. Stylists and other salon staffers working on Tuesday's project included Angelica Valle, Raelyn Bush, Kira Montgomery, Muriel Pardon, Anita Yancey, Samantha Escobar, Erin Walker and Qatrenia O'Kelly.


And for all who lent a hand, the rewards on Tuesday were immediately fulfilling. But they were also part of a bigger purpose.


"It's about giving back to your community," said Charlotte Walker, president of the Hesperia United Methodist Women.


The living-color proof was in the testimonials.


"Today it ain't about the wounds. It's not about the bruises," said a woman who received the makeup services. "Today is about healing. It's trusting you're not alone."