BRAZORIA — Working toward bettering the education and lifestyles of children means a great deal to Brazoria native Felicha Jones, so much so that she started the Smart Scholars Foundation.
“I knew I wanted to start my own business,” she said. “I found myself more and more mentoring kids.”
Stepping away from an oil and gas company to explore child care, her passion took her to starting the Smart Scholars Foundation, where she goes to events and also teaches programs for children ages 3 to 12 in Houston and Brazoria County.
The foundation has anti-bullying programs, mentoring services that enhance children’s self-esteem and communication skills, suicide intervention for bullied children as well as financial support to families, Jones said.
“We provide educational services,” she said. “We will do anything that will help enhance the lives of our children.”
This is her calling and it is her chance to have a second career, in a sense, Jones said.
“This is what I have been created to do,” she said. “I knew with a nonprofit I could do more and more community engagement.”
What she does with children always requires the parents to be actively involved, Jones said.
“They actually have to participate,” she said. “They get to see and hear and know what their child is dealing with. It fosters a better relationship in the home. It’s going to always involve parent participation. It builds that relationship with the parents and the child to become more loving, become more sensitive to that child.”
The nonprofit is in the process of obtaining a building and, until then, Jones hosts classes out of her home, she said.
She wants to do whatever she can do to make children walk away from her programs better, Jones said.
“We demonstrate or we exemplify those means of love and acts of kindness for our children,” she said. “We care here at Smart Scholars. We love them, we support them, we have their backs. Building those relationships are key to me to all my children.”
One of the children’s parents, Arleshia Murphy, has seen the work of Jones and how helpful it is, she said.
“I don’t see too many programs out there that are doing what she’s doing,” she said. “I can tell she genuinely loves kids. She does a lot with the kids.”
Specifically, the anti-bullying work that Jones does opens a dialogue and allows children a safe space to talk, Murphy said.
“I think that is so important,” she said. “I am a single parent and I’m just grateful to have Felicha be a part of my daughter’s life. She’s helping her come out of her shell.”
Some children don’t have anyone to rely on and she wants to be a child’s confidant, Jones said.
“That is the highlight of my life,” she said. “I want that to continue. We are making such a positive impact on the lives of our children.”
For information, visit www.smartscholarsacademy.com.