Real People. Real Impact.
The success story of
My name is Casey French, and I am 27 years old. I am the mother of a beautiful 3-year-old little girl named Kennedy. Thanks to the Region Ill WDB-KC and the WIOA program, I was able to make my dream of becoming an aesthetician a reality.
In 2019, 1 found myself moving back home to West Virginia from Texas, as a single mother to my daughter. While living in Texas, I had begun researching aesthetician programs, however with a lack of family support and unfortunate life circumstances, I moved home to WV and often felt like my dreams of becoming an aesthetician may never come true. After finding a competitive program for aesthetics at a reputable school called The Palm Beauty Academy in Cross Lanes, I felt encouraged to apply. I learned that I could not apply for traditional financial aid through this school, therefore if I wanted to attend, I would have to figure out how to finance my education myself. I stumbled upon the WIOA program and applied. What a blessing it was because I was approved for the grant and started my education
at The Palm Beauty Academy in June 2020. My goal was to learn as much as I could from the experienced and professional instructors that taught me every day. I spent evenings and weekends practicing my skills on anyone willing to let me, in addition to seeing clients at school. This was MY dream, and it was becoming a reality all of the sudden and I knew that nothing could slow me down now! After graduating at The Palm Beauty Academy in September 2020, I immediately began working at the upscale Palm Beauty Salon as an aesthetician. It was here that I gained even more knowledge and job skills under the mentoring of Mrs. Tammy Boland, also the owner of The Palm Academy.
I have always dreamed of opening my own salon, offering beauty services in a unique atmosphere that reflects what my clientele wants to see. In May 2021, I secured a location with a friend of mine to open our own Beauty Bar & Lounge called "Luxe- Cosmetic Tattooing and Beauty Lounge" right in downtown Charleston, WV. My partner, Holly, and I are in the process of renovating and intend to have a grand opening at Luxe by August 2021. Our vision for Luxe is to offer beauty and spa services that give our clients confidence and allow them to relax and appreciate their natural beauty as well in a unique yet family-like atmosphere. My big-city dreams that I thought would come true in Texas, are coming to life in Charleston, WV, my hometown, and it makes me so proud.
As I write this, I am reflecting on my "story". The last year feels like a whirlwind as my career has
taken off and my dreams are all becoming a reality in front of my eyes. There are so many
people that have helped me get to where I am today, and I will forever be grateful. But the
WIOA program gave me the opportunity that I desperately needed to not only finance my
education, but to do that without placing financial burden on my daughter and me. I am so
grateful for Region Ill WDB-KC and the WIOA program and what it has allowed me to
accomplish in the last year.
The success story of
From an interview with WOWKTV
January 25, 2021
Courtney Saunders battled addiction for years.
“I started using drugs when I was 17 and well I came up here on a
road trip and I ended up getting arrested,” she said.
At the time she was addicted to methamphetamemes and heroin.
“I spent nine months in jail and I went to Recovery Point,”
She found a treatment program and eventually started working at
the Workforce Investment Board of Kanawha County, an agency
that is all about second chances.
“She started out just going through a big file room with old
records and shredding papers,” said her boss Nancy Daugherty, Executive Director of the organization. “Little by little we found out that she had some skills and that she was definitely smart and a quick learner.” When Saunders started there in July 2019 it was supposed to be temporary.
“We look to try to make a positive influence in their life,” Daugherty said.
Just this month Saunders was hired on to a full time position as an office assistant. She’s now celebrating three years of sobriety, having her own car, her own apartment and sharing her experiences with others on their own journey to a better life.
“Recovery is possible. You can overcome anything. You’re worth it. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You know you don’t have to get high every day,” Saunders said, adding that she hopes that by being open and honest about her story she can help others. In her spare time she’s been working on earning a business management degree.