Medical problem led Arlinda Harris to career as skin-care...


June 02, 1991|By Mary Corey

Medical problem led Arlinda Harris to career as skin-care 0) specialist

The doctors told Arlinda Harris it was minor surgery. A slight fTC cut and they'd have the small tumor by her ear out in no time.

Ten months later, she was still wearing bandages and a drainage tube, concealing her face whenever she left her Randallstown home.

Eventually, she recovered, but the experience changed her life. She began taking courses in skin care and cosmetology to learn how to hide her scar. Several years later, she became a licensed aesthetician and opened Arlinda's Place, a skin-care salon in Baltimore.

"Having had the experience I had, I know we can get depressed about our appearance," says Ms. Harris, 41, who is married and has two sons.

She now volunteers with the American Cancer Society, showing patients how to care for their skin, and considers teaching corrective makeup a favorite part of her job.

"To see people come in with port wine stains and then to show them they can cover them, that feels good," she says.

Ms. Harris offers no apologies for working in an industry that some say thrives on women's insecurities.

"To care about one's self . . . and to have respect for our bodies enables us to have longer, happier lives," she says.

Although pampering others may be her profession, she takes plenty of time for her own facials and massages.

"I try to practice what I preach," she says.

When Terry Allen Perl came to the Chimes, he figured he'd stay a few years and then move on.

That was 20 years ago.

As president of the organization offering education, housing and career training for people with mental retardation and related disabilities, he's helped create residential centers and expand adult programs for more than 800 people.

"If we set limits for people with disabilities, then they will probably fulfill them. If we believe that the possibilities are limitless, then people will often exceed their own expectations," says Mr. Perl, 45, who lives in Brooklandville with his wife.

He always thought he'd study law, but reconsidered after meeting disabled children at a summer camp.

"I think this is the most optimistic job in the world," he says. "When I look at . . . the Chimes, I see people who have the opportunity to do the best with their lives. My job is to help them."

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