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Meet Cherelle Jones of P.O.W.E.R. Academic Strength and Conditioning in Southeast

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cherelle Jones.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My very first tutoring job was when I was probably about 11 years old. My mom’s friend hired me to help her son learn how to read. I would tutor classmates in high school and in college I would tutor at a few of the public schools in D.C. I have continued to tutor throughout my time as a teacher, but I did not “make it official” until 2017. I wanted to build a company on the foundation of relationships. When I think about the teachers that were the most influential in my life I don’t recall a lesson they taught, rather the relationship I had with them. In building our brand, we knew we wanted to focus on empowering our kids and building strong relationships. The name P.O.W.E.R. means Pursuing Outcomes With Engaging Relationships. It is our firm belief that kids “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We work diligently to build trust and respect. We want our learners to feel safe in taking educational risks and secure in knowing they can learn from failures and disappointments. This model of business has been successful for us.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a fairly smooth road but we have had some struggles. One struggle is getting parents to trust our process. Sometimes we are contacted because parents want an A on the test at the end of the week. That’s not how we operate. We aren’t in the business of providing band-aids where stitches are needed. Our mission is to equip learners with the individualized academic resources necessary to increase their intellectual capacity and critical thinking skills. We don’t want to give “cheat codes” or “quick fixes.” We focus on mastery, not memorization. Sometimes it’s hard for us to get parents on board with the long-term goals because they often focus on short-term success. We’ve also had a few growing pains as it relates to scheduling and space. We are looking for a building now and while I wouldn’t count it as a struggle, it’s definitely time-consuming.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with P.O.W.E.R. Academic Strength and Conditioning – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Thank you so much, I have been a teacher for the past eight years. I’ve taught in counties here and I’ve taught overseas. One thing that is consistent…kids are kids. I absolutely love kids and education. The “red tape” in education often makes it difficult for teachers to do what is best for students. I initially started out tutoring here and there as a way to make extra money. I went back to my “tutoring roots” when I started P.O.W.E.R. because I saw a need for a tutoring company that builds relationships with kids and provides specialized services and resources for them.

We want to emPOWER learners to advocate for and demand the education they deserve. We want to reach milestones, create memories, and celebrate a-ha moments! We feel the best way to do this is through building relationships and growing with our learners. We want to notice when a learner is having an “off day.” We want to recognize when we need to spend more time on social and emotional learning. We want to know how hard to push and the level of challenge to give without causing frustration. We want to tutor the “whole child,” and knowing the learner and building a relationship with them makes that possible. At P.O.W.E.R. we focus on strengthening academic muscles. We provide remediation, intervention, and enrichment. We use an interest profiler to personalize activities that are challenging but not overwhelming for learners. We rebuild confidence when necessary and we support our learners in all areas of their lives.

What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
There’s definitely been a pretty good amount of luck. More of a “right place at the right time” kind of thing. For example, a school I used to teach at is moving to a new building and getting rid of a lot of materials. I’ve been able to get a good deal of gently used resources for free. Also, I’ve been fortunate to be given opportunities like this one to share a bit about my story and the business. The support from the community has been unbelievable. I attribute that more to the passion my former parents know I have for education but I count it lucky that they are willing to support me after all these years.

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Image Credit:

Sandriel McKnight

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