We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonica Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonica, how does your business help the community?
I love this question because if I didn’t feel like I was helping my community, I couldn’t continue to do my work day after day. Feeling like I’m leaving a positive impact on the world is a core value of mine, and I hope that is obvious to those I serve! Our young people need adults that they can trust to guide them through the confusing parts of life, and what can be more confusing than figuring out the future?
Formally a teacher, I’ve worked with hundreds of teens and something that became very clear to me was their need for more support. Instead of this next generation feeling like they’re just wandering through life with no guidance, I am able to sit there with them and discuss their options, whether that be majors/careers, college choices, or what they should write in their applications. I give them multiple questionnaires and surveys so that they really take the time to dig deep and reflect on what is important to them, what really matters for their future.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am helping to shape the next generation of leaders by discussing their goals and aspirations with them, and then helping put them on a path to achieve all they hope for- what could be better than that?! While it wasn’t easy to transition from the support system of a school to working alone in a business, it has been more than worth it. I’m still able to stay true to my educator roots and educate families about the intricaces of the college process, but now I can be a mentor in a whole other capacity. I seriously feel so lucky that I get to wake up excited to do what I do!
I really pride myself on being able to take something so intimidating and overwhelming and make it exciting for my students. I get to show them all of the opportunities available to them that they don’t even know exist! The absolute best part of what I do is that I get to remind them of how incredible they are when they are applying, and get to be their support system during the highs and lows of the process. I am both a guide and a cheerleader for them through this very stressful, but so important, time in their lives, and that brings me great joy!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Explore the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and do the elf scavenger hunt- the artist of the backdrops hid tiny elves in many of his paintings (also check out the sloth)!
Of course, Red Rocks is iconic- ideally for a show, but just hiking around is great, too!
I might be biased as a former English teacher, but I love the Tattered Cover bookstore 🙂
First Friday Art Walks in the Art District and City Park Jazz concerts in the summer!
Little Man Ice Cream, Voodoo Donuts, and The Dairy Block- especially Kachina Cantina!
A bit of a detour out of Denver, but if time allows, The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, Colorado is awesome. It was given as a gift from their sister-city, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and is so gorgeous!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to shoutout all educators, but especially the ones I had. Without their encouragement and support, I don’t know that I would have had the confidence to pursue my goals and dreams. My teachers were my role models, and ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to motivate others to find their love of learning just as they had for me!