As part of the Zenoti Foundation’s commitment to supporting the next generation of beauty and wellness practitioners we partnered with Gene Juarez Academy earlier this year. The academy offers training for aspiring cosmetology professionals to equip them with the skills and education they need to succeed in the industry. At Zenoti,we understand that having the funds for spa management software training programs can often be a barrier to entry, so we created a scholarship program to support one individual on their journey.
We are excited to announce that Maria Belous is the recipient of our first Zenoti Foundation scholarship in collaboration with the Gene Juarez Academy! Maria was selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will receive $5,000 to support her as she completes the Cosmetology program.
See what Maria has to say...
Please share your reasons for pursuing cosmetology. What is it about this area that you feel passionately about?
At the age of 14 I moved to the United States. Being a teenager in a foreign country with a language you don’t know really played a toll on me. I gained a lot of weight and became very insecure. I lost myself. I started watching makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube and realized that they brought me joy. So, I started to practice on myself. It made me feel like I found my purpose in life and it gave me a reason to push through and keep going.
Throughout the years I learned a lot of techniques, so I started doing makeup and hair on my family and friends. One time I had an opportunity to do makeup on several bridesmaids and I realized that seeing people feel beautiful made me happy and brought me joy. My English might not be perfect till this day but I speak the language of beauty which requires no words. Although I have learned a lot on my own, I would love to get a professional degree in this field. That way I can pursue my dream of making people feel beautiful full-time.
What difference would the Gene Juarez Academy program make to your life?
I’ve spent many years working for big chain companies and giving my all because my parents raised me to be a hard worker and give 100% every time. But those jobs didn’t make me happy. Once I complete this program, I’ll be able to live my dream by putting those extra hours into my own business and at the same time enjoying what I do. I’ve never been as excited as I am today to start this new chapter of my life.
What makes you the best recipient for this scholarship? How specifically would it help you achieve your goals and aspirations?
I believe that I am a very passionate and hard-working student and would be honored to receive this scholarship because it will open bigger opportunities for me. Besides this, I constantly try to improve my community by doing volunteer work. Since 2010 I have been serving our local church by volunteering teaching Children’s choir, Sunday school, and Bible school.
In addition, I also volunteer by helping new immigrants to get established in the community because I have been there myself. A good education is the key to success, and I try to connect my passion for education with my desire of helping others.
Describe the moment when you first heard that you had been awarded the scholarship. How did it make you feel?
It was a typical Thursday morning on August 12th, 2021. I was up early to get ready for my class, and usually, I check my emails first thing in the morning, but I was running behind, so I had to wait until the afternoon to do that.
When the time came and I opened an email from Janine and the Zenoti Foundation, my eyes started watering and I started crying because I couldn't believe my eyes. I was extremely excited because August 13th was my birthday, and it was an exceptional gift for me this year! I shared my joy with family and friends and they were all extremely happy for me because they were aware of how extremely hard I work for everything I do.
What are you most looking forward to when you begin the Cosmetology Course with Gene Juarez?
I have always been curious about the science behind the coloring process, but I am looking forward to learning everything about cosmetology from Gene Juarez Academy professionals.
What is your dream after you graduate? What type of beauty industry business would you like to own or work for?
I am a born business woman, or at least I'd like to think so. My future goal is to open my own salon and do what I love to do full-time! It will take time, but I believe that I can achieve anything with my passion, hard work, and the support of my family and friends.