In the heart of Rochester, NY, a revolutionary school is taking shape—Miss Julie’s School of Beauty (MJSB). This nonprofit cosmetology school is not just about teaching beauty skills; it’s a beacon of hope for human trafficking survivors and those at risk of entering the vicious cycle of exploitation.
The Stark Reality
Recent data from a 2023 Polaris survey reveals unsettling truths. A staggering 41% of survivors of human trafficking possess criminal records, and a whopping 83% grapple with the haunting shadow of poverty. This situation often paves the way for re-exploitation. To address this dire need, MJSB provides a sanctuary, offering survivors an avenue to reclaim their lives and rewrite their narratives.
A Safe Haven for Healing and Learning
What sets MJSB apart is its commitment to creating a trauma-informed environment. With dedicated volunteers and professionals, the school ensures that every survivor feels safe, valued, and empowered. Furthermore, by aligning with New York State’s requirements, graduates who secure their cosmetology licenses bypass the daunting hurdle of background checks, paving a smoother pathway to employment.
Strategic Partnerships for Progress
May 2023 marked a significant milestone for MJSB as it joined forces with WinnCompanies. This partnership secured a 2500-square-foot facility in downtown Rochester, backed by an impressive renovation commitment of up to $349,000. Complementing this, New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney’s office facilitated a crucial buildout reimbursement grant of $125,000.
The Road Ahead
We are seeking organizations and agencies who work with victims and those at risk to support our referral process. Our enrollment program will enable eight eligible students to enter the 1000-Hour Cosmetology Pilot Program.
As encapsulated in our motto, “The past will not keep you from a beautiful future,” this initiative is about creating tangible change, but we need your help to make this a success.
Meet the Visionary: Julie Chapus
Behind MJSB’s endeavor stands Julie Chapus, fondly known as Miss Julie. A Licensed Master of Social Work, NYS-licensed cosmetologist, and instructor, Julie’s multifaceted expertise is instrumental. With a background in counseling, therapy, and authorship, she embodies the spirit and mission of MJSB.