Written by Meena Fernald, Associate Program Director
Timia Shaffer is an entrepreneur, business owner, high school senior, and City Kids JET. A few months shy of eighteen years old, she has navigated the pandemic with intention – finding a balance between her schoolwork, hair braiding business (Different Styles), family commitments (like spending time with her adorable nephews), and City Kids responsibilities. However, this past year has not been without its challenges, as virtual school can be draining and senior year brought a busy workload on top of her several college applications. Timia did not let this deter her from focusing on her goals – as she has big plans for after high school.
As her graduation nears, Timia is looking forward to college next fall studying business administration and pursuing a future career in law. Although the path forward will have its challenges, Timia is excited to explore the world outside of DC and knows that she has the skills she needs to adapt, stay focused, and succeed. During the pandemic, Timia adapted her business model, work schedule, and safety protocols to be able to balance her work and school. Timia has brought the relationship-building skills she learned at City Kids to her business and has built a loyal and diverse customer base that has grown over the years to include people of all ages and genders from the DMV.
Although navigating a big life transition (high school graduation) during a pandemic is not easy, Timia is no stranger to creative problem-solving and perseverance. On her first-ever hike in Wyoming, she learned firsthand the power of community support when facing challenges. While on her way down Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park – the quintessential Ranger hike – Timia tripped and scraped her knee. Hurt, scared and frustrated, Timia felt herself shutting down. However, her mindset changed when her counselor Max and two of her new friends stayed by her side to support her for the rest of the hike. This was the moment Timia knew that City Kids was more than just a fun outdoor program, City Kids was a family. The power of the City Kids community has been consistent in Timia’s life – through the changes and challenges of middle school and high school, she shared she can always count on City Kids to be there.
As Timia approaches her senior JET summer, she is getting ready to work as a JET Camp Leader with our Elite campers. I asked Timia what she wants her future campers to know about the City Kids journey and she said,
It’s going to be a learning process. You’ll make mistakes and feel like you can’t do it. But that’s a part of City Kids – each year you get better and better and learn how to be better. Give it time & stay open. In my first couple of years at City Kids, I wouldn’t have believed I’d be where I am now, but I have grown a lot and accomplished a lot!