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Spa For The Homeless

To some, she's just a statistic — one of Washington D.C.'s 8,000 homeless people.

To others, she is Sandra Connelly, who is trying hard to improve her life. She gets on-the-job training at a day shelter known simply as "Rachael's."

Home, for now, is yet another shelter — two bus rides away.

"I never did think that I would live in a shelter," Connelly says. "What I want is a place of my own, that's what I really want."

A 38-year-old woman hard on her luck, everything Connelly owns is in a tiny cubicle. It's in bed by 9 p.m., out the door at 7 the next morning. Everyday is a struggle to survive for her.

But one day, there is a change from her bitter daily menu.

"I want that massage, because I definitely need it," she tells The Early Show Correspondent Thalia Assuras. "I'm so excited, because I've never been pampered like that."

It's a different menu for other women, too. They go from the streets to the spa — signing up for treatments at "Soul," a new day spa. And the women are treated like any paying customers.

The program is a success because Rachel's reached out to the community for help. The result: donated food from a nearby café, free makeup lessons from a former model and the generous soul of an unexpected hero — the owner of the spa.

"We're hoping that it's a gift that they will be able to incorporate in their lives and be the first step into helping them feel more positively about themselves," Nicole Cober says.

Changing the outside, goes the theory, helps the inside.

"One of the things that happens to people who are homeless is they lose hope, which keeps them homeless," says Dawn Swann, of the Rachael's Women's Center. "[It's] kind of a vicious circle that happens. So anything that you can do to make them feel good about themselves and get directed and feel that they can do things helps them to move out of their situation."

But, the women from Rachel's aren't the only ones who benefit.

"Just to see someone happy, who has been going through depressing stages in life, and just to lift their spirits up and talk to them, it just makes you feel good inside," says hairdresser Tamar.

If only for a day, the women are able to forget their life on the streets and in shelters. And they can dream of a future that is more a struggle to stay alive.

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