The team at Saskia Salon prepares for The Shine Project fundraiser which was held at the salon Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Submitted photo

On May 10 Saskia Salon in Ahwatukee Foothills was packed with more than 100 guests getting their hair done, nails done, and enjoying food and music, all to help local kids go to college.

The Shine Project’s fundraiser at Saskia Salon raised more than $7,000 for Phoenix students.

Guests were invited to come have their hair, makeup and nails done in an atmosphere full of food and music and raffle items. It was the second year the staff of Saskia Salon have helped with the event.

“Just to see people helping people help themselves is really fantastic,” said Saskia Almasan, owner of Saskia Salon. “It wasn’t a huge black-tie event but I feel like people were just as excited to attend this as they would be to attend that.”

The girls’ night out event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the group. The Shine Project provides college scholarships for inner-city kids in Phoenix. They award about $20,000 in scholarships each year to kids that work for the money by doing service and working for the non-profit’s jewelry company, Threads by The Shine Project.

The money raised from the May 10 event will help five students who are currently taking college courses.

“I got to meet one of the recipients and I got a little teary-eyed because she was super excited and very grateful,” Almasan said. “She is completing her freshman year at Arizona State University. Her goal is to go to law school to be a defense attorney. It was really great. I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

All of the kids who have gotten scholarships from The Shine Project, which started three years ago, are still in school and on track to graduate.

“I’m still close with all of them,” said Ashley LeMieux, founder of The Shine Project. “They’ve told me several times it’s not even about giving them money. It’s the fact that you believe in them enough to give them money, to support them to do something you believe they can actually accomplish. For a lot of them that’s the first time that anyone has told them that … We’ve helped a good range of awesome kids that are actually using the money well and are going to produce a huge outcome with the support that has been given to them.”

The Shine Project plans to hold a similar girls’ night out fundraiser each year. For more information on the non-profit visit

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