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My journey with College Dreams began my junior year at Hidden Valley High School. I was moving between my grandparents’ and boyfriend’s house as my mother was really struggling and didn’t have a place to live for me or my baby sister. School was an escape from my everyday life but I still felt a lot of responsibility, so my grades
were slipping and teachers and staff began noticing.
Kim was the CD adviser at the time and noticed I was having a difficult time. She began to ask me what I was interested in and what my life was like and why I was doing school the way that I was. She was there just to help me, and cared about what I had to say. She told me that I could do anything I wanted to put my mind to, but I would have to work for it and show up for the program, and for myself most importantly.
Hair and makeup became my thing. Kim encouraged me to pursue it, so we looked up every possible scholarship and she helped me figure out how I wanted to convey myself through essays to people who were going to help support me in my dreams and help me to reach my goals. The Career Build program paid for me to get started in the salon business through an apprenticeship at Enchanted Salon. Kim helped me get a grant to buy work clothes and she took me shopping for them. I worked at the salon for about a year and learned what it took to be professional in a work atmosphere, and built my confidence up by talking to people everyday.
Through the IDA program, I saved money each month that the IDA matched to help me save for college. The program taught me how to budget and be patient with myself, because I realized saving money each month adds up!
Then scholarship night happened. I had never felt like a winner or like I was going to receive awards like other kids did for sports or good grades. When the night came, I received multiple scholarships from people in the community who believed in me and my dreams and I was so overwhelmed with joy for all the hard work I had done. That is when the quote, “the harder I work the luckier I get” really sunk in to me.
Shortly after graduation I began beauty school at Phagan's School of Cosmetology! College Dreams helped me set up payments with my scholarships, make sure all my money was being put to good use, and always treated me like I was worth all the things they did for me. I have now been working a Blue Door Salon, supporting myself for the past year and a half!
College Dreams always checked in on me. To this day, if I needed them, I know I could stop by their office for any questions or concerns I have. I was blessed to have these people in my life and I hope that more people can experience what it’s like to be around people who want the best for you and for you to love yourself. College Dreams changed my life, I don’t know where I would be without them, and I couldn’t thank them enough!