Women trade the county jail for the catwalk, pledge to turn lives around

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By Kendall Downing

LEBANON, Ind. (Oct. 2, 2014)-- Women in a fashion show in Lebanon on Thursday night hit the runway for recovery. They're turning their lives around with the help of a Zionsville hairstylist, who's motivating them to make a change for good.

Getting ready for the runway takes time, effort, and in this case, a lot of hope.

"We've all failed, but we've just never been put in jail for it," said Cindy Crowe-Layne, a Zionsville hairstylist.

She started working with women at the Boone County Jail 18 months ago, first as pen pals, then in a Bible Study. Crowe-Layne quickly realized she wanted to do more.

"I gave them my phone number, and I said when you get out, call me. And we'll get you in the salon and do your makeover," she said.

Her motivation wasn't hard to find, either.

"I have a son who's incarcerated because of drug addiction. His drug of choice is painkillers, and when I would go visit him, he would inspire me by saying things like mom you wouldn't believe the people in here that have no one that comes to see them," she said.

May brought with it makeover number one. Cindy's done eight so far, and she said there's a waiting list.

"When I was in jail, it hit me probably thirty days in that I can't do this anymore," said Jamie Cox.

Cox is a mother of four, our of jail in April. She said she's thankful to now say no to drugs.

"We don't have any family functions because I don't do it anymore. I don't get invited to nothing," said Cox.

Thursday night Jamie Cox hit the runway, officially stepping out and showing off her brand new life. Three other women joined her, too.

Cindy called the program Uncage Your Beauty. She hopes Thursday's fashion show sends a message - people can change, but the community must step up to help.

"They don't want to be an addict, and they need people to not keep pushing them down, but to keep loving them and pushing them up," said Crowe-Layne.

Organizers don't want the program limited to Boone County. Crowe-Layne said she's hopeful other counties in central Indiana will become involved. Proceeds from the show will help support future makeovers and school scholarships for the women just getting back on their feet.