Queen, It’s a New Day changes women from the inside out

Makeovers from the inside out. That’s how Queen, It’s a New Day describes how it helps reroute women’s lives from despair to hope.

Pretty dresses and nicely done hair, makeup and nails are the glamorous aspects of the nonprofit group’s work. Those things show. What isn’t so apparent is the change in outlook for women chosen as “queens.”

In being valued, they see themselves as worthy. In being pampered, they begin to seek lives of purpose. Those are the beliefs of Judy Hoff, who started Queen, It’s a New Day 14 years ago.

“We’re so excited to help them,” Hoff said.

The Queen program began as part of Life Changes Ministry, an Everett church where Hoff was once pastor. Since then, Queen, It’s a New Day has become its own nonprofit that helps more than 100 women each year.

On May 12, the group will host its annual Queen, It’s a New Day gala. About 100 women will be honored at Everett’s Edward D. Hansen Conference Center in Comcast Arena. The dinner gala, a fundraiser for the program, will include a concert by Born to Be Wild with former members of Steppenwolf and Pegasus, and a talk by Cristina Coria, a former police officer who was on the TV show “Survivor.”

The gala dinner, $65 and open to the public, is just part of the Queen experience for honorees. This year, New Life Church in Everett is headquarters for the two-day program. There, women will have hair, makeup and clothing makeovers before being driven to the gala. The women will stay overnight in a local hotel. Workshops are scheduled for the next day.

Hoff, author of the book “Healing the Hole in Your Heart,” will give a talk about how thoughts affect your life. Other presenters will offer sessions on personal finance and starting a business. A job fair will cover employment and educational opportunities.

The organization works with the Everett Gospel Mission Women and Children’s Shelter and other shelters, and Evergreen Manor, which provides chemical dependency treatment. Those organizations help identify women to participate in the Queen program.

Marsha MacLean, a member of the Queen board of directors, said this year’s group includes about 30 women being helped by a Seattle agency. Some have escaped lives of prostitution, she said.

Can a day of beauty or a weekend of workshops make real change? For MacLean, they were a beginning.

At 35, the Everett woman works as a supervisor for nine gas stations between Tukwila and Oak Harbor.

“In 2006, I was living in a shelter. I literally had nothing but the clothes on my back,” MacLean said. By the time she had found Hoff’s ministry, she had battled a 14-year methamphetamine addiction and had two felonies on her record. “People think there is no hope if they have a criminal record,” she said. “The program showed me that if I keep my eye on the goal, nothing could stop me from having full recovery.”

She got a job at a gas station. “I rode my bicycle to work for three and a half years until I finally got my license back,” MacLean said. She worked two jobs, at the gas station and a pancake house. That work ethic paid off. A sales representative referred her to the owners of a number of gas stations, and she landed her job as a supervisor.

Before serving on the organization’s board, MacLean was a “queen.”

She remembers being picked up from a shelter, with 20 other women, and walking a red carpet at the hotel. She remembers uniformed sailors from Naval Station Everett serving as escorts at the gala. She remembers picking beautiful clothes from the “Queen’s Closet,” and having her hair and makeup professionally done.

To cheers and applause, she and the other women were escorted, one by one, to the ballroom stage. She remembers what she said: “Hi, my name is Marsha. I’m a queen, and it’s a new day.”

It was a new day — a new beginning.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Queen gala

The Queen, It’s a New Day fundraising gala is scheduled for 5:30-10 p.m. May 12 at Everett’s Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave. Event includes dinner, a concert by Born to Be Wild with former members of Steppenwolf and Pegasus, speaker Cristina Coria from the TV series “Survivor,” and the presentation of women who received makeovers. Tickets, $65, are available at www.queenitsanewday.org

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