The Dream Center residents had no idea where they were going when they boarded the bus from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena Monday afternoon. Some assumed it would be community service, or maybe therapy sessions. But Kristin Hoedge, 20, had other ideas. “Of course, we are all women, so our imaginations got the best of us,” she said. “I was praying it would be something like this.” The 30 women living in the center program came from all walks of life, but most were homeless, many were drug addicts and some were former prostitutes, said spokeswoman Ida Somero. But domestic violence was one common thread throughout most of their lives. Ponce said she began running away at 13 to escape a stepfather who beat her, only to find abuse elsewhere. When she was 20, Ponce said she was locked in the apartment of a new boyfriend, who beat her mercilessly for days. After a particularly brutal attack and attempted rape, Ponce decided jumping out the window was her only escape. She landed a story below on his workout equipment. Knocked unconscious, she said she woke up in an ambulance. “I said this is no way to live; it was just hopeless,” she said. In one year, Ponce said she has gotten off the drugs, found God and developed a new attitude. She’s now studying for her high school equivalency degree on her way to becoming a police officer. While something as simple as a new haircut and makeup might seem trivial after overcoming a life of drugs and abuse, it’s not, she said. “It means so much to look on the outside how you feel on the inside,” she said. “It changes your whole self esteem.” Many of the women in the program have children who they will visit with on Sunday – Mother’s Day – for the first time in months. Former meth addict Maribel Dominguez sat in the salon chair with strips of foil wrapped atop her head. A beautician was kneeling in front of her, massaging her arms and hands to prep the 22-year-old for a full manicure and pedicure. She said she hopes her mother will bring her two children to the center on Sunday, but she isn’t sure. The separation has been hard on the kids, and Dominguez is writing them a letter to explain why she hasn’t come home. “They say `Mommy, Mommy, why aren’t you coming home, don’t you miss us?”‘ While it tears her apart, Dominguez said she knows her actions will benefit her children in the long run. If they do visit on Sunday, it will be nice for them to see her all glammed up with polished makeup and a new hairdo. “It will be a great day for us,” she said. “I’m so grateful.” [email protected] (626) 578-6300 Ext. 4494160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! While eking out a living on the streets through theft, beauty treatments had never been at the top of her to do list. “You don’t have much time for salons when you’re living on the streets,” she said. But on Monday, Ponce and 29 other women rebuilding their lives at the Dream Center in downtown Los Angeles received physical transformations to match those taking place in their lives. The event,sponsored by celebrity hair stylist Hasblady Guzman at Bokaos, was part of a new “pay it forward” plan taking place inside the Dream Center. “After doing this, I wonder why I don’t do it more often,” said Guzman, who shut down her salon for half a day and had 15 stylists working for the women. • Photo Gallery: Makeover day PASADENA – Sonia Ponce thumbed through a stack of celebrity magazines as she waited for a stylist to check on her blonde highlights and begin cutting chunky layers into her brown, shoulder-length hair. With a bright smile, meticulously applied makeup and newly sculpted eyebrows staring back at her, the bubbly 21-year-old looked just like the many other young women who routinely make appointments at upscale Old Pasadena salons. Few would guess, Ponce said, that until last year, she had been a methamphetamine addict living inside a dingy Laundromat in Long Beach, sleeping on washing machines and dirt-stained folding tables.