After a year and a half of planning, hard work, and tenacity from many people behind the scenes, the cosmetology program at Echo Glen Children's Center has launched. In May 2022, staff, students, and visitors attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
The idea for this program came from Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR) Security Officer Jose “Freddy” Ruiz, who shared it with then-Superintendent Felice Upton. From there, a conversation started with Evergreen Beauty College, and after a campus tour, a partnership was struck and the salon was created on-site.
Using dedicated funding to expand college and vocational programs, students will attend 1,600 hours of instruction and receive hands-on education in hair treatment and styling, skincare, manicures, pedicures, and more. The yearlong program also provides an opportunity for youth to earn a Washington State cosmetology certification, paving the way for rewarding careers providing all cosmetology services typically offered in the profession.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the first cohort of young people enrolled in the program shared what they have been learning and how excited they are to learn this trade.
“It gives me hope about my future and I feel supported and believed in,” said one student. “I finally feel like I have a chance to change my life.”
Echo Glen youth and staff alike are thrilled about the program. Aligning with DCYF’s Strategic and Racial Equity Plan, opportunities like this help young people to not only find employment, but also meaning, and to learn that they are capable and competent as they transition into adulthood.
Thank you to every person who turned this idea into reality!