HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - A blind woman from North Harris County has achieved her life long dream of becoming a hair stylist. Last week, she received her license for hair braiding and weaving in the state of Texas.
Sandra Yelling lost her sight almost 20 years ago. She's a mother to five daughters and always styled their hair before she went blind. Now she is looking to encourage others to pursue their dreams, since she was able to fulfill her own.
"I realized that, you know, I didn't need eyes to do it. So, it just comes natural to me, all I need is my hands," Yelling says, but it took more than a decade for her to realize that.
Before losing her eyesight, Yelling dropped out of cosmetology school, and continued with her life. Until the untimely passing of her grandchild took a drastic toll on her health in the year 2000.
"I went into like a death sleep, for six weeks of sleep never waking. In the midst of it, I destroyed the optic nerve, I really was afraid to come out at first. I stayed in all of those years and I realized I wanted to do something with my life, so I started praying and asking God 'what can I do, what's my passion?'"
It was three years ago when she decided to enroll in cosmetology school again, but focused on braiding and weaving. It took a little bit longer to get her license versus students who aren't blind. Yelling says she has lots of clients, loves a challenge, and needs very little assistance.
"I thread my own needles, so I don't need no one for that, but just mainly needing someone to be there just to do the parting, and making sure that you know I didn't leave any hair out," she said.
Her next goal is to be able to share her story, and inspire other people.
"Without physical sight you have another sight, you're in our sight. You can find something to do, just find your passion, you know, and if you got the passion to do it your mind will take over. Then your hands will work for you," says Yelling.
Yelling continues to braid and weave hair at the African Hair Braiding and Cosmetology School where she received her training, located at 432 West Parker Road in Houston. She's also tutoring other cosmetology students so that they can pass their exams.