Cris’s lifelong dream as a kid was to be a cosmetologist but life got in the way and he never pursued it. Struggling with mental health issues he finally sought assistance from DOR and made his dream come true.
Cristobal: My name is Cristobal Zarala but people call me Cris. I heard about DOR a long time ago. The first time I went to DOR was in 2008 and I was in another training but I didn't think I was ready because I was still dealing with my mental health issues and drug abuse. I was pretty bad with my bipolar and my schizoaffective disorder. It almost took my life. Struggling with those demons and everything like that I really didn't seek anything. When I got clean I decided to give them another try because when I work with them they show that they really care so that's why I came back.
They helped me out with materials for school which was kind of freaking me out and helped me get around with the bus. With DOR's help I found out about mental health services. They gave me great referrals to a whole bunch of their resources. Especially the counselor, first and foremost, I should have started with her. Knowing that my counselor cared that's all I needed because everything else just followed in my best interest. I was referred to a psychiatric doctor.
Ever since I was a teenager I used to do my sister's hair and growing up it was kind of frowned upon to play with girls and stuff like that. I guess there was an internal thing from my parents being “old school” that it wasn't cool. I never really pursued it but it’s always been in my heart.
When my clients start making silly faces in the mirror because they're feeling it I'm feeding off their good energy. It keeps my mind distracted when I'm working with my hands it’s almost like improvising. Everybody's different. Everybody's head shade is different with different hair textures. You are almost like a psychologist because you're there for them. You're there to provide a service and you must be humble. It's dealing with people every day, all kinds. It’s brought me back to reality and I think I chose well with this profession [cosmetology]. Nobody cares about where you come from. They just care how good you are!