Updated: Mar 16
I was born and raised in Anderson, SC where I attended T.L. Hanna High School home of James “Radio” Kennedy. After high school, I attended the University of South Carolina where I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I also received my Masters in Reading and Literacy from Walden University. I worked in Richland School District One as a PreK, first and second-grade teacher, and then later became a Reading Coach. I also worked in Richland School District Two and served as a reading coach there. I have 10+ years as an educator working with students in a public-school setting.
Since the beginning of my career, I have always tutored students on the side from PreK to high school in reading, writing, and math. I was a full-time teacher then left from there and went straight into tutoring sessions in the late evenings. I did this for many years from being a mobile tutor to meeting at the library to even providing sessions out of my home. All I knew and wanted to do was teach, help, and guide those students who needed extra support.
In January 2022, I started a girls' mentoring group called “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring. I noticed the need for our young girls to have the support they needed to be confident and respect themselves in the society we live in today. I wanted them to have a safe, risk-free atmosphere where they could be themselves and express their feelings and concerns.
In June 2022, I left the public school system to pursue my tutoring business, Inspired Learning, and Above, LLC, and girls' mentoring group full-time. I have watched over the years how many of our children were struggling in school. I wanted to be the extra support and push for them to get them through school, challenge them, and set them up for success academically and personally but on a different platform.
Through all my experiences as an educator, I am grateful and blessed to be in the position I am in today. I get to continue to use my gifts and talents to guide and support our children and their families on a different platform that is set up to reach the whole child for true success.
1. Please introduce and tell the readers about yourself.
I am LaQuisha Chester born and raised in Anderson, SC. I was raised to always trust and believe in God and to find and fulfill my purpose with my gifts and talents. I knew the things I enjoyed doing growing up such as organizing, helping others, babysitting, pens, journals, reading, etc. but I never knew my purpose. I did not know my purpose until my sophomore year in college at the University of South Carolina as a business major. I called my mom crying saying I could not do this, and it was not for me. It was then my mom reminded me of all the things that were natural to me, and I enjoyed doing. She told me teaching children was my purpose. When I entered the Early Childhood program my life then forever changed. From there I was an educator for 10+ years teaching Preschool to second grade, to becoming a Reading Coach for K-5 elementary schools, to working for USC as a supervisor for intern teachers, to now being the founder of my tutoring business “Inspired Learning and Above” and my girls mentoring group “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring”. Now that my purpose has been identified and sharpened over the years, I am excited for the things God will do through me to help and support our children and youth academically and personally.
2. Ms. Chester, you are the Founder of your nonprofit organization, “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring.” Tell the readers about “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring” and its mission.
I Am Enough Girls Mentoring was created when I recognized how much our girls’ needed confidence, support and reassurance in who they are. They need someone who loves and believes in them but most importantly someone who is real and has experienced what they are going through and/or feeling as girls This generation heavily relies on social media and entertainment for acceptance and identity that is setting them up for failure, false hope and a road to depression, addictions, insecurity and more. To prevent this from happening to our girls, I decided to start this nonprofit to bring life and hope back to our girls.
The mission of “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring” is to educate young girls about who they are, personally and academically, and how to respect themselves as individuals. Our mission is to create leaders in the community and world by using their voice, gifts and talents through experiences and exposure to what the world has to offer to create the best version of themselves.
3. If a parent would like their daughters to be part “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring” where can they learn more about your services?
They can visit our website at www.iamenoughgirlmentoring.com
4. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, you are making a great impact in the community. Ms. Chester, you are the Owner of “Inspired Learning and Above, LLC. Tell us about your company and the services you offer students.
Inspired Learning and Above, LLC is my definitely heart, my passion but most importantly my purpose here on earth. As a previous educator in the public school system, I have noticed so many children falling through the cracks, not understanding, needing to be challenged or supported but not getting what they needed in an atmosphere that set them up for success. I started tutoring my second year as an educator for free because I saw these things happening to the students I was teaching. Once I realized the great success I was having with tutoring and my students were learning and progressing, I then branched out to do tutoring on the side of teaching. This is how my business got started and began to grow from there.
My ultimate goal for tutoring is to change the narrative of tutoring is only for children who need help/support. That is not all that I am and want to be. I am a business that challenges and supports ALL CHILDREN who are on ALL LEVELS. Just as much as the struggling students need support, the average and above average students need to be challenged to look at things differently and to be pushed beyond their limits.
I serve children from Pre-k to high school in the areas of reading, writing and math (specific math in high school). I offer a risk-free, comfortable atmosphere where all students embrace their individuality in how they learn and process information to support their academics. I also support the whole child and not just academics. A child has to be mentally and emotionally ready to learn or no progress will be made. They must have confidence in oneself to know and trust themselves to do the work regardless of how others are performing around them. This is why I offer support in these areas as well so that we can take care of these concerns first before diving into the academics and seeing the progress we know they can make.
I also offer State Standards support in reading, writing and math, Orton Gillinghan support, writing process support, various math strategies, reading level assessment, foundational skills assessment, and much more.
5. Congratulations on your Grand Launch for both “I Am Enough Girls Mentoring” and “Inspired Learning and Above, LLC” on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at your new location. Growth Women’s Business Networks Magazine celebrates with you. Tell the readers about the experience at your Grand Launch in your new location.
The Grand Launch of both of my businesses is truly a blessing from God. This is not something that took place in a couple of months, but this moment was years of obedience, sacrifice, dedication, tears, self-doubt, humbling, trial and error and a leap of faith to get to this point.
To walk into our new location was a humbling moment to recognize that God has left me in control of this place to support our youth and community. It wasn’t or isn’t about me, but about the children’s and parents’ lives I would be changing when they step foot in those doors. It’s about being the support our children and their families need when it comes to their child academically and personally.
I was grateful for the overwhelming love and support from so many who know me and others who don’t, but trust and believe in the work I am doing for our youth. That alone made this Grand Launch one to never forget. It’s all about the lives and minds that will be changed to ensure that everyone is successful in anything and everything that they do. This Grand Launch is the true definition of my “Crazy Faith.”
7. What advice would you give to business owners who are dealing with a transition of recent changes that make them want to give up in their business industry?
My only true and real advice I have to give to other business owners wanting to give up is to TRUST GOD! He never said the road would be easy, He never said we would not face trials and tribulations, BUT He did say He would never leave us nor forsaken us. In the mist of wanting to give up is when you must fight back harder.
Find a community of people who will uplift you, support and guide you when you get to those moments. You are not a Shero or Hero so ask for help, learn to lean, and trust in the right people and learn to let go of control. Sometimes we can be the cause of our failures, so remove yourself out of the equation and allow others who love and support you to support you. You do not have to do it all alone.
8. What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your business?
One of my greatest accomplishments is my new location. To go from being a mobile tutor, to tutoring at the library, to tutoring out my house to now having a building is the biggest accomplishment to date. To have a center to do the work I am so passionate about is beyond my wildest dreams or expectations. I thought I would retire from teaching in the public school, but God had bigger plans for me.
9. Do you have any upcoming conferences, events, or workshops?
Coming Fall 2023 I will start hosting workshops and events for high school future teachers and college students in the education field to give them the opportunity to work with students' hands on and to grow their knowledge of children and teaching. I will also start hosting workshops for parents to educate and support them as well.
10. Give us some words to educate, inspire, and encourage women, and the readers of Growth Women’s Business Networks Magazine.
“It’s only crazy until it happens.” These words were spoken by Michael Todd from his Crazy Faith book and are the words I lived by for the last year. No matter how ridiculous, bizarre, or unobtainable your goals and dreams may seem to others, if God put it in you then you must follow through. It is only crazy to them, because it was not shown to them, and they don’t have the passion and faith like you do to see it fulfilled. That is why it was given to you and not them. So go after that goal, go after that dream because it is only crazy until it happens.
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If you would like to learn more about LaQuisha Chester's services, visit her website at www.iamenoughgirlmentoring.com