This chic is absolutely amazing! Tiffanie is the founder of the JCS Project, a non-profit based in Houston, TX, that gives college students free care packages. Note I said FREE. She has a passion for helping others and it’s magnetic! Check out our interview.
LM: Tell us a little about yourself.
TJ: My name is Tiffanie Jones and I am the visionary behind The JCS Project. I was born in the 5th Ward area of Houston, TX and later raised on the Southwest Side. After graduating from Robert E. Lee High School I was Blessed to find a job that I have been employed at for over 18 years. I am the proud parent of two beautiful children, Theory, a high school senior and Jayse is entering into middle school.
LM: Oh wow! I didn’t realize they were that old!
What prompted you to start your own business?
TJ: In 2014 I started, The JCS Project: JCS stands for Just College Students. It all started when my little cousin, Taylor Jones, enrolled at Blinn College. I felt like it was my responsibility to provide for her. Having no college experience myself it fell upon my heart to start providing FREE College Care Packages to her, a few other cousins and co-workers children. What started out as 5 girls has now expanded to over 3000 students.
LM: What! That’s amazing!
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur? Least favorite?
TJ: My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the time I actually spend with the students. It’s one thing to give or mail them a FREE College Care Package. But to physically go to direct colleges/universities during our Campus Tours or our annual Back2School College Drive is a different story. To see their reactions, talk and interact with them is amazing!
My least favorite is all the behind the scene stuff, especially the business side.
LM: Tell us about JCS
Project. Why college students?
TJ: To be honest, I would have never thought I would be doing something like this. Especially with college students. Since I’ve never been to college myself. But I feel like I was called to supply a need. I’m not the only person with a cousin who was going off to college. I’m sure people have the same feelings, concerns that I have. I also felt like college students or overlooked. I wanted to be a support system for them and I’m happy to be doing just that.
LM: That’s so awesome! What sets you apart from other non-profits?
TJ: The one thing that sets us apart from other Nonprofits is our annual Back2School College Drive. We are the only ones doing it in Houston.
LM: What are some events that you do for your organization?
TJ: Every January we host a Scholarship Breakfast and award at least 10 students with scholarships and acknowledge them as Ambassadors to represent a variety of Colleges/Universities. In July we host our annual Back2School College Drive. Before students leave Houston, TX they can pick up their FREE College Survival Kit. Year-round we go on a Campus Tour. Traveling all over Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi giving out 100 FREE Packages at each stop.
LM: Do you collab with other organizations?
TJ: We love and are always open to collaborations. Currently we collab year-round with my business partner, Lanai Whitaker, the founder and CEO of Simply Helping Foundation. We also have partnered with Godiva Anderson, the founder and CEO of Paper Pencil Pen.
LM: Everyone thinks it’s easy to start a non-profit. Truth or fiction?
TJ: That is so far from the truth. This is no walk in the park. This is hard work and dedication. This is your blood, sweat and tears. It’s lonely and sometimes you never get the credit you deserve for not even half of the stuff that you do. But you do it anyway because of your pure passion for serving others.
LM: What advice would you give?
TJ: Be sure you have some supportive people around you. Stayed prayed up. You’re going to need it. Be prepared to be misunderstood. Be prepared to be judged and sometimes feel lonely.
LM: Tell me about your family.
TJ: I have two beautiful children, Theory a high school senior and Jayse a Middle school 6th grader.
LM: Aww they are so good looking kids. What’s the best part of being a mom?
TJ: The best part of being a mom is that fact that even if I mess up I have two people who will still love me no matter what!
LM: What’s a typical day for you?
TJ: Not only am I an entrepreneur but I also work at a real 9-5, and I work 7 days a week. My day consist of long hours and lots of work. I’m honest a workaholic but at the end of the day it all pays off. I have come up with a schedule to balance my real job and my nonprofit that I love.
LM: With all of that do you do for fun sis?
TJ: For fun, I like to take my children on family road trip 1-2 times a year. I love photoshoots and shopping at New York and Company. Especially the Gabrielle Union Collection.
LM: What does family time look like and how often do you have that time?
TJ: Family time consists of family vacations, family photoshoots, etc. My children are heavily involved with JCS and attend multiple Campus Tours and help pass out packages.
LM: Self-care is important especially if you wear many hats. What do you do for self-care?
TJ: Self-care is extremely important. I can not express that enough. Me personally I can honestly say I don’t do enough of self-care on a daily basis. BUT….. I set aside times and plan things for me to do just for me! I’ve done a trip by myself, I pamper myself up and go on a photo shoot, etc. I do whatever I would like to do to make me happy.
LM: What’s next for you?
TJ: Not only are we doing the Back2School College Drive here in Houston but we are taking this to New Orleans for the first time.