Sara Jane Thomas endured a traumatic and troubled youth, which included drink and drug addiction and as a victim of domestic violence.
But the 31 year-old, from Wrexham, has turned her life around and excelled on a series of Skills for Adults courses at Yale college.
She will be joining a non-medical aesthetics course this autumn after achieving two GCSEs with the college, as well as completion of a number of free Essential Skills classes, including Maths and English, and Communications.
Sara has also finished a Social Science Access programme and her hard work was recognised with awards victory in 2016, when among other prizes she won was the Health and Wellbeing NIACE Award for North Wales at a ceremony in Cardiff.
“I definitely owe a lot to Cambria and my tutors, especially Pam McLean, who has been amazing and a great support to me,” said Sara.
“I have been through a lot, and even in past months lost family members close to me, but I’ve tried to stay positive and have enjoyed educating myself on various courses, having not done so when I was younger.
“I’m in a good place now, I feel happy and when I complete the non-medical aesthetics qualification in November plan to start my own business or rent a salon space and start the next chapter of my life.”
She added: “To complete the courses and win those awards was a huge thing for me, especially after everything I’ve been through. My tutors and the college helped to build my confidence, and I thank them for that.”
Pam is proud of the progress Sara has made and sees a bright future for her.
“I first met Sara when I was delivering a programme of English and Maths as part of a CAIS Substance Misuse Programme in Wrexham,” she said.
“It’s amazing to see how she has since got her life back on track and has a good band of supporters to help and encourage her along her journey to a better life for herself and her son.
“She has even volunteered at the local homeless soup kitchen and attended the morning drop-off for drug and alcohol dependants.
“During the years of alcohol and drug taking her first thought of the day would be how she could fund her habit, now her first thought is spending time with her son and continuing with her learning. It’s a phenomenal turnaround and we are very proud of her.”
For more information on the range of Skills for Adults courses at Coleg Cambria, visit the website: