This week’s Millennial On A Mission not only resides in the best city in the whole wide world, (Chicago, of course) but she has been inspired by her own personal experiences to improve the lives of inner city youth through mentoring, professional development and career readiness.
I’d like for you to met Brittiney Jones.
Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Brittiney is a 2013 graduate of Western Michigan University, where she studied organizational communications with a minor in psychology. Currently, she works within talent acquisition development at HighGround, an employee engagement technology company in Chicago. Her nonprofit, Chicago Youth Opportunities Initiative, seeks to develop the minds of young people (ages 16-21) who are growing up in foster care.
MOAM: What inspired you to create Chicago Youth Opportunities Initiative? What challenges have you faced in building your business/brand, and what have you learned from them?
BJ: I pursed my career in this field because of the struggles I faced growing up. At 16, I was emancipated, which inspired me to create my first non-profit here in Chicago. With CYOI, we seek to assist young people who are growing up in foster care accomplish their goals through college readiness, tutoring, career workshops, personal growth and financial support.
We do this by empowering them to not just dream astronomically and set goals they wish to accomplish, but to also help develop the life skills necessary to achieve their vision.
The program is centered around first helping the students understand who they are, what they are passionate about, and how they can leverage their strengths and passions to achieve what they imagine. The students set short and long term goals for themselves while also creating action plans as to how they can reach these goals in their designated time frames. The remainder of the program is set to develop the characteristics (i.e. perseverance through obstacles, effective communication, critical thinking, etc.) that are so often credited for the success of many great leaders.
To Brittiney, being a Millennial On A Mission simply means to be an innovator of your dreams. “We are no longer structured and can accomplish any and everything,” Brittiney says. “We aren’t forced to become doctors, lawyers, or engineers. We can now break outside of the norm and become entrepreneurs.” A piece of advice she would give to her millennial peers? Be consistent. “Consistency is key to being successful.”