HOUSTON - As recent high school graduates head to college in the coming weeks, many have 'some' idea what they'd like to do with their lives. One young woman, though, is making that journey with a solid plan in place that she's had for years, thanks to some unique opportunities that made it possible.
If you watch 18-year-old Tyra Clemons at work, don't worry if you can't keep up with her lightning-fast hands that are busy braiding hair.
She's been doing it for years, "I've been braiding since I was 15-years-old."
She discovered she had a knack for it when a hair appointment fell through, and she was left to braid her own hair. That gave way to helping friends, and then a full-fledged business she calls, Styles by Tyra, that just celebrated two years of operation.
"I wasn't going to make enough money to take care of 'me,' so braiding has helped," she says.
Education has been a big part of it, too. Tyra graduated from the Yes Prep schools and participated in an after-school program that offers additional instruction in academics, college readiness, work-skills, and how to be an entrepreneur. The school says they're vital tools for students.
"If you take time to build the community, and build partnerships across campus, we can go limitless miles," says Yes Prep's Monique Graham.
"I learned how to be independent; how to manage time; I learned how to be a leader: and I also learned how to be more interactive with people," was Tyra Clemons' take-away.
Her growing business skills have meant an ever-growing list of clients who can spend hours, sitting for an appointment that leaves them with custom braids that cost a hundred dollars or more.
The commitment and drive is no surprise for Tyra's mother, Alicia Robinson, "Once I saw her take control of it, I just stepped back and let it go. She showed me this is what she wants, and she's got it."
In August, Tyra is off to Prairie View A&M University to study business. The braid business is coming too to discover new clients and grow as she learns and grows.