“I Feel Good” Women of Shelter Embrace Sutton-Brown’s Spa Day

Article and Photographs By Cas Brown
An abrupt exaltation of the phrase “Wow, I feel good”, spoken with much candor, pierced my ears as I opened the door. Half expecting to hear a rendition of the late James Brown’s classic song, I hesitated for a moment before entering the room. Instead of seeing a performance of the eclectic dance moves that made ‘the Godfather of soul’ famous, I was greeted with the performance of a 30-something year old woman walking gracefully across the room boldly announcing how wonderful she looked and felt. This glamour girl was clad in a hot pink, plush robe over a floral printed nightgown, fur boots that reached her calves, bright red nail polish and a fresh haircut. No, I was not at the latest designer fashion show; rather I was at the first annual TSB08 Spa Day in downtown Toronto, Canada.

This event, held just days after Christmas, embodied the theme of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation via the provision of spa-type services. Local hair dressers, physiotherapists, and estheticians volunteered their time to perform manicures, hair styling, and massages to the residents of Street Haven. A residential shelter for approximately thirty women who are in need of safe housing, Street Haven provides mental health counseling, assistance with job training, and a variety of other services to help them transition back to independence. “The work to which Street Haven is committed is in accordance with the mission of TSB08, which is why I chose to hold this event here in my desire to give back to my community,” stated Tammy Sutton-Brown.

The Indiana Fever all-star center further explained that the stimulus for creating a spa day event materialized spontaneously one day as she reflected upon her own personal routine. As a star athlete, Tammy recognizes the importance of rejuvenation for a healthy body and mind; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Tammy's overseas schedule often requires that she practice twice a day, that takes care of her physical mobility on the court, and she is in constant communication with her loved ones, thereby taking care of her emotional well-being.

“My loved ones visit me overseas and I have local friends,” said Sutton-Brown. “Given my career, a great deal of my time is spent by myself. However, I am not lonely because I stay in touch with my spirituality through meditation and prayers. No matter where I am – regardless of country, state, city – I am committed to rejuvenation. Spa day is a significant part of my life. It brings it all together; it restores me and motivates me into the next level.”

Stressful situations, such as homelessness, diminish one’s capacity and motivation for holistic well-being and the TSB08 addressed this issue through the implementation of Spa Day.

“We are happy with the outcome of this event,” Tammy proudly admits, portraying her modest smile. “The women who received the provided services today were genuinely pleased and it was apparent that they started feeling better about themselves. They walked out more confidently than they walked in, and that change in self-confidence made everything worth it. This event will be repeated in other cities, including Indianapolis.”

In addition to the spa treatments, each woman received a gift bag of items contributed by corporate sponsors including La Senza, Bath and Body Works, and New Era Caps. Spa services were provided by TJ Berry, RMT and Gerwil Mendez, RMT of The Mobile Spa (themobilespa.com), hair stylist Pat Senior, physiotherapists Tracy Blake and Kim Yae.