At the age of 26, Jakira Kellogg has acquired a master’s degree in school counseling and a bachelor’s in behavioral science, and she is currently enrolled in Coaching Training Alliance classes to become a Certified Life Coach. In addition, Jakira has founded her own tutoring company, Just Accommodating Kids (JAK), with the purpose of applying her own teaching methodology to her work as she partners with the parents of preschool and kindergarten students to guide them through this incredibly important period in their personal development. Jakira also aspires to continue cultivating one of her greatest personal passions — writing — and transform it into a professional endeavor.
Regarding her journey that brought her into these influential roles, Jakira admits that she initially never dreamed of becoming a life coach. However, she jokingly says that she was coerced into it by many of her friends who believed she had the perfect skill set to lead and mentor others. So, Jakira began to take coaching classes and fell in love with the profession.
“I feel like life coaching is all about asking powerful questions so my clients can learn to solve their own issues, as well as inspiring them to get into the habit of taking accountability,” Jakira says. “It’s a co-creative relationship.”
Although she recently enrolled in coaching classes, this is not Jakira’s first time in a leadership role, which is part of the reason she feels so confident in her ability to succeed as a life coach. Jakira is currently a graduation coach at Poughkeepsie Middle School, where she partners with parents to accommodate their children’s needs and to ensure the students are on a successful academic and personal track. In addition to this, while pursuing her master’s degree at Mercy College, Jakira stepped into the role of peer mentor for five girls and she was responsible for guiding them through their freshman year of college.
“I love that I was able to inspire those girls and guide them both emotionally and academically through such an important and transitional period in their lives,” Jakira says.
Considering Jakira’s extensive experience and involvement within the field of education, she decided to honor her valuable skill set and create JAK, finding her inspiration for the tutoring company during the pandemic. At the time, she was working as a teacher’s assistant, and her mother urged her to apply her skills in the real world amid those troubling times and create something of her own. She did this with the aim of incorporating the philosophies she values as an educator into teaching young children between the ages of 3 and 5, which is when JAK was born.
“When the children come in, I give them an assessment to analyze where they are academically, and after that we work together to keep them on track and learning the appropriate amount,” Jakira says.
Jakira’s biggest goal for JAK is that one day she will be able to incorporate her one-on-one teaching approach in every preschool and elementary school in the country. She also dreams of expanding the company to guide not only children, but also their parents, as she believes many parents would benefit from receiving more support, especially in intercity school districts.
“As a parent, it’s about unlearning some of the things you were taught as a child so that you can truly create and cultivate a loving environment for your family — an environment that doesn’t resemble some of the traumas and negative experiences you might have experienced as a child,” Jakira says.
Jakira relates it to her own experiences growing up.
“My mom was a single parent to two children,” Jakira says. “My father was in and out of jail the entire time I was growing up. Now, I see my mom as an inspiration because she never once gave up on us.”
However, the passion Jakira loves to cultivate the most is writing. She began writing after reading the poetry book “The Princess Saves Herself in This One” by Amanda Lovelace, which made her realize she has a difficult time externalizing her feelings and would frequently let them build up. This realization inspired Jakira to form the daily habit of transforming her feelings into words, which she would keep tucked away in her journal.
“I enjoy writing because it allows me to express myself and see myself in my most raw and vulnerable states that I have yet to identify,” Jakira says.
After continuously cultivating this craft and gaining more confidence with it, Jakira now describes writing as her one true love.
“It’s a love that sees all sides of me, but it is a love I can’t control, and that’s what’s scary about it,” Jakira says. “It requires me to be submissive to the process and it requires me to sit in my feelings, and that is the most uncomfortable thing.”
In 2021, Jakira submitted her very intimate piece “Chronicles of a Convicted Felon” into a contest, for the chance to be featured in Mercy College’s Red Hyacinth Journal. This piece centers around Jakira’s sense of feeling mentally confined and having vulnerable conversations with herself regarding who she is and why she conforms to the patterns of this world. Jakira was hesitant to submit her poem, but her poetry professor encouraged her to enter the contest. Every judge on the board gave Jakira’s poem an unanimous “yes” and many of her professors congratulated her on the sheer rawness of her art.
“I actually cried more when I found out I won the contest than when I received my master’s degree because it just felt like someone finally saw me,” Jakira says.
Within the next 10 years, Jakira has set big goals for herself. By the age of 36, she would love to be a New York Times bestselling author, as she has a dream of publishing a book that shares her life story. She also aims to begin touring universities around the country as a life coach to give college students the skills they need to succeed in their personal and professional lives.
“In 10 years, I hope to be called into opportunities where I’m able to create generational wealth for my family, because I do have other people coming up behind me and I want to create resources for them so they don’t have to experience what I experienced growing up,” Jakira says.
Her biggest advice to anyone wanting to devote their energy into pursuing a creative endeavor, is to “allow yourself to feel.”
“Allow yourself to go through the motions because the creative side of you is a side that requires you to reveal who you are, and there may be parts you don’t want to acknowledge or don’t know how to handle quite yet,” Jakira says. “Just sit in it. Be in it. Feel it. The more uncomfortable you feel, the more real the process becomes.”