Baton Rouge educator, Lauren Williams, has been working hard to help get a cosmetology training program started at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. She has coached the inmates to help them prepare for their practical exam, and four inmates passed with flying colors to become licensed instructors. Thanks to Lauren and her passion to teach at the prison, inmates will leave LCIW with a license to create and the opportunity to make a living.
Read more from our Q&A with the incredible Lauren:
What inspired you to go volunteer?
“It was the thought that I would be contributing to a project that empowers women who haven’t always had the best circumstances in life, made a mistake, or had a bad decision that landed them in a place that they don’t want to make a permanent spot in life, but could grow to be a learning experience for them. They could take this experience and get straight into the workforce and regular civilian life.”
What was the most rewarding part for you?
“Seeing them blossom & go from day one where they were completely unsure if they were even worthy for this project, then skip ahead 7 months later and their confidence is through the roof! They became leaders in their dorms, and took other ladies under their wings by showing them where they came
from and where they are today, they let them know they can do it too!”
What’s next for these ladies?
“They are moving into their COS program, they have taken their exams & become licensed instructors. Now everything they’ve prepared for is coming into fruition & they get to act on all the hard work they put in. They are in the recruiting phase where they reach out to short term offenders who can do the entire program and get out in the next year or two.”
What is something you want people to know about this program?
“These women are not the crime they committed. Going into this for me I had ideas in my head of what it may be like with misconceptions, but they were the complete opposite. I went in not wanting to know
what crime they committed, they are not those people anymore. Rehabilitation can happen, it does happen on a daily basis here. They are some of the sweetest, most humble, & dedicated women I know.”
How can people follow along or help?
“Talk to your state representatives to get laws changed as regards to parlor and sentencing. Some of these ladies made a mistake and the sentence doesn’t fit the crime or they have rehabilitated themselves and they haven’t had the opportunity to show it. Donate your time to these facilities, any volunteer work is good.”