Stacy Schneider of the Workforce Development Board’s employment and adult education center in Ste. Genevieve bragged during last month’s Community Services Forum meeting about the accomplishments of her students.

“Some of our local kids are just doing great, inspiring things,” Schneider said. “They’re overcoming addiction, and they’re overcoming abuse, being homeless, in the foster care system. All these things they’re overcoming, they’re getting their diplomas, they’re getting jobs, and I just wanted to brag about them.”

She brought to the meeting copies of the August newsletter for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Young Adult program coordinated by the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri. The newsletter featured a story on Colby Hall of Ste. Genevieve County.

Hall overcame addiction to alcohol and drugs, anxiety and depression to get his diploma through the Ste. Genevieve office and then went on to college at Southeast Missouri State University.

He started a project called Grace Case, which provides suitcases for children in foster care.

The story mentioned that Hall had come across a suitcase in his basement and it “brought back memories of when he was in foster care” and first received it.

“It brought back the memory of when he thought his life was worth nothing more than what was in the trash bags he took from place to place,” the article stated. “His life had changed so much and he wanted to make a difference in the lives of other foster children. ... He wanted to make sure they never felt like he had felt.”

He has been selling t-shirts sponsored through Deb Says Sew for a fundraiser. Renaissance Beauty Academy also is supporting Hall’s project.

“He’s done a lot of good things in our community, and I think people really don’t know about him,” Schneider said.

The July newsletter had featured Kendal Dobbs, who was learning to be a ward clerk through a work experience with Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital and is studying at Mineral Area College, and Mark Bequette, who enrolled in the Scholars@Work program.

See complete story in the October 9 edition of the Herald.