River of Life celebrating 10 years of empowering women

Zann LaFrance, director of River of Life in Cleveland, is pictured with new graduates of the program that is intended to educate, equip and empower women.

The Cleveland River of Life Women’s Life Skills Training Center celebrated their 10-year anniversary, on Nov. 4, at Oak Shade Baptist Church.   

The River of Life is a faith-based nonprofit ministry founded 10 years ago. The mission of the organization is to equip, educate and empower women to impact their own lives and their community by rebuilding themselves from the inside out.  

Women seeking purpose come to the River of Life many times because they are struggling, experiencing low self-esteem, overcoming drug addiction, joblessness, lack of education, depression, family dysfunction or they may just be needing a loving, helping hand.  

During the tenure of The River of Life, services have been provided to more than 200 women in our community. The River seeks to create long-term contributions and solutions for local problems, believing there is so such concept as “women’s issues” but rather “family and community issues” as every person has an impact on those that surround them. 

The facility provides computer and business skills training alongside communication classes that promotes healthy self-esteem.  One of the high points of the 12-week session is the “makeover week” where the ladies are provided professional dress clothing and the opportunity to meet with a cosmetologist who provides a hair and makeup “makeover.” 

Zann LaFrance, director of the center, said, “Our desire is to see women break free from consequences of wrong choices and the unhealthy cycle this can create in their lives and to provide the opportunity to turn their hopes and dreams into reality. We are honored to have had more than 70 program graduates of which 52 have maintained gainful employment, 13 of which own and operate their own businesses!”

The Cleveland River of Life WLSTC will be kicking off its 21st session on Jan. 18, 2022. Applications for the program are currently being accepted. If you are interested in learning more about the River, or would like to participate in the next session please visit the website at www.clevelandriveroflife.com.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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