Brenda Scott-Petty has mentored hundreds of women in Indianapolis over the last 30 years – many who were young, single and at risk of homelessness. She met them all when they walked through the door of her Broad Ripple beauty salon, Changes, where she helps women discover their own true worth and hope for the future.
Scott-Petty uses her role as a business owner and her gifts for hair and makeup to do more than beautify her clients’ outward appearance. She’s made it her mission to uplift women who need to know that they are loved and capable of joyful, meaningful lives.
“We do not do beauty treatments. We do heart treatments,” Scott-Petty said. Changes Salon receives client referrals from Wheeler Mission’s women’s shelter, churches and people who work in schools and other community organizations.
Scott-Petty first witnessed the impact of community service growing up in Indianapolis. Her father, the late Maryland Scott, operated Scotty’s Barbershop, a legendary business with clientele that included members of Indiana Avenue’s famous jazz scene, such as Wes Montgomery.
“We never knew who was going to come to our home,” Scott-Petty recalled. “But when someone needed a place to stay or something to eat, you made a place for them, a safe place.”
Her father was a good judge of character and a natural at networking. It’s an approach Scott-Petty has made her own. Working with friends in religious communities, schools and social service organizations, Scott-Petty works to help uplift women and help them discover hope. Whether they’re facing risks for homelessness, health problems, domestic violence or have recently been released from incarceration, Scott-Petty works with them all with passion and joy.
In addition to her work at Changes Salon, Scott-Petty volunteers at Wheeler Mission for Women and Children and Kairos Prison Ministry. She also created Speak From the Heart, an annual faith-based retreat for women of all races and spiritual backgrounds.
“So many of the girls and women I meet are broken and the people they counted on to love them were not there for them,” Scott-Petty said. “I work to help them know they are not alone, to help them see the love of God.” Her advice to others longing to serve comes from her own experience: “Look at your own passion and gifts. Begin even with one other person. Be willing to be part of someone else’s change.”