By Janeal Downs
Growing up, purchase one lesson that Ja’Mya Roots learned and wants to pass on to others is that “you are who you are, you don’t have to fit in.” Unfortunately, Ja’Mya learned this while suffering from bullying. “I tried to make friends but I would always get judged because of my size, so it was kind of hard,” Ja’Mya said. At a young age, her view of the world went from a loving and caring place to a place she described as full of hate and judgement. Although it was tough, she credits this experience to making her into the strong person she is today. If she could offer advice to someone going through similar things, she would tell them “that it’s going to get better and just love yourself.”
With encouragement from her mother, she was also reminded to love herself. She would constantly tell her, “God made you beautiful just the way you are and you are one of a kind.” With time, despite being bullied, Ja’Mya learned that the skin she was in was beautiful and was what made her stand out from others. “If I never went through that situation I do not think I will value myself as much as I do now,” she said. “I have so much respect and confidence for myself now.” Looking back, she would never have thought that she would be satisfied with both herself and her weight like now.
Ja’Mya also stands out academically as a student at John Marshall High School where she currently has a 4.3 GPA. While maintaining a part time job, she also mentors with “Girls for Change.” With this organization, she is able to give motivational advice to girls between the ages of 12 and 15. She is the executive of photography for her school magazine. In the past, she was a summer camp counselor and she was also a Girl Scout. Currently a senior, Ja’Mya plans to continue her education by attending college. “My great grandmother, she passed last year, but she’s still my motivation because she wanted to see me graduate so that just gives me drive,” Ja’Mya said.
Howard University in Washington D.C. and Old Dominion University in Norfolk are her top choices for college where she plans to major in psychology. Ja’Mya first became interested in psychology when she took an intro course at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. She was able to learn the basic fundamentals of the mind and why people act certain ways. After getting her degree, Ja’Mya plans to come back and work for Richmond Public Schools as a counselor. “The reason I want to come to RPS schools is because I want to help children that’s often overlooked,” Ja’Mya said. She wants to be the adult connection and role model for students in the future who may struggle with poverty and other issues. With plans to one day make a difference in others’ lives, Ja’Mya’s other goals are just to be happy and successful.