We had the good fortune of connecting with Telicia Fogle-Simon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Telicia, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
My hometown is right here in Houston, TX. Actually, the northeast side of Houston in Trinity Garden. Back when I was growing up we had a group of people that was always looking out for us. Either it was grandparents helping out to ensure we had what we needed when moms and dads were still figuring out life, or it was the neighborhood nanny (woman that gave you a safe haven from the streets). Having the encouragement of those that surrounded me even when I was making choices that would effect my life was what set me on the course that I am on now. Key stakeholders that knew I could be better than what I saw in myself built a foundation within me that bridged the gaps within my life. I am so very blessed that my family, teachers, church members and community members took out the time to point out my attributes, but to also set me straight in my thinking and actions. For all the efforts and prayers that they poured into me, it has not gone in vein. I feel that our current youth deserve nothing less than what my time tried to in still….good character, self-preservation and community leadership. Our youth should have as much as the community and society has to offer them.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Choice Nation Academy became that vision that would allow underprivileged youth the platform to develop their passions while finding their purpose. Well before our first summer program in 2018, Choice Nation Academy was being designed as we joined with like-minded organizations like East Houston Civic Center and individuals, such as Ms. E. Persol to help shape the direction that we would travel in. From Northeast to Northwest Houston and even near the waters in Galveston County, we have begun to impact youth’s perspective and actions about what it means to be a leader amongst the community and themselves.

For three years now, we have shifted our program to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Our classmen have gone from being greeted with smiling faces at the door to giving virtual high-fives to keep them encouraged. Ensuring that the social-emotional needs of the classmen are built amongst other key life skills no matter what it takes is what sets us apart from many. With continued partnerships and support of the community, our current and potential classmen will become empowered decision-making leaders today and tomorrow.

It has not been easy because our mission is to offer services to youth at little to no cost to families. With a limited fiscal budget and space to fully implement our services, access to drawing in youth has been the biggest challenge. Each day we strive to push forward for the betterment of our youth that will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston is one of the best cities to learn about various different cultures, industries and more. Starting downtown at the Minute Maid Park to take in a baseball game or to taking a stroll down 19th street in the Heights area you will find music, something new to learn and people to greet and meet. Even as far as Vintage Park near Highway 249, you can shop at family owned and operated businesses. Giving back to the community that you live in whether it is near or further is what make Houston great.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where would I start! As I previously stated there have been so many integral people in my life that have shaped who I am and the successes that I have. However, I would be remised if I did not say that God had the biggest impact on where I am today. It is because of his guiding hand that I am able to even sit here to speak of my accomplishments. My family has had my back every step of the way. Even when I feel like giving up (which is so many times than I like to think of) they pray for me. They encourage me. They step in when I need them to without me having to ask. I believe they deserve a big portion of my gratitude. After reading the book “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson back in the summer of 2018, it shifted my journey to understand that “faith is taking the first step before God reveals the second step.” Once I saw that it was me that was holding back my “God-sized” dream, I began to crawl into action. By far, there are more influences in my life, but we are limited on time.

Website: www.choicenationacademy.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/academychoice/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AcademyChoice

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC41-qKCG2cyj9hrS1pYfSgA

Image Credits
Vontesha Simon E.L. Kingsley Foundation

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