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I Am Enough Jasmine Poole 18

I Am Enough: Jasmine Poole, '18


Morristown, N.J. (October 8, 2020) – "I didn't know how to read until I was 12 years old," says Jasmine Poole, '18. "I was born prematurely and, because of that, had a few learning disabilities that made reading extremely difficult."

Throughout elementary school, whenever Jasmine's class was reading out loud, she would count the number of students ahead of her. Just before her opportunity to read a passage, Jasmine would disappear to the water fountain or bathroom until she was certain her turn had passed. Jasmine's difficulty with reading was one of her greatest struggles. However, to counteract these deep feelings of shame, Jasmine began searching for a new outlet.

"Everything I didn't have academically, I had athletically and that's where I was able to shine," explains Jasmine, who played semi-professional basketball for the Women's American Basketball Association (WABA) after graduating from Saint Elizabeth University. "I couldn't read but I could do a one-handed push up, so I would just focus on that."

When Jasmine came to SEU, she found it difficult to settle on a major. Initially she thought about studying history but slowly realized that the degree wasn't right for her. That's when her retention coordinator, Jane Bourhill, suggested a new path.

"Jane said, ‘why don't you pick English?' and I responded, ‘if you knew my background, you would not be asking me to do that," recalls Jasmine. "Then I paused for a second and thought, ‘Stop being so scared, think like an athlete. Pray, practice and study."

Two years later, Jasmine graduated with highest honors, earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and has gone on to publish several books. Her first, Voice Beneath the Surface, actually began to take form in an SEU classroom.

"I wrote the first chapter of my book as the final assignment for Lynne McEniry's English class," says Jasmine. "She encouraged me to continue toward publication and I replied, ‘I'm done with writing.' But she told me to use writing as a tool."

Now, Jasmine has published seven books. Four of those, Go PlayBlack & BlueYour Body Is Your Temple, and I Am Enough are focused on children and explore a variety of different topics. These include: self-esteem issues, the importance of playing outdoors, puberty, proper ways to address police if you are a young African-American in today's society. Her other novels are geared toward adults and focus on empowering and educating people from all over the country.

Jasmine's writings are a way of reclaiming that power that was taken from her as a child and proof that she is capable of accomplishing anything that she felt was impossible.

"I wanted to study the most difficult subject for me to set an example for young kids who come from the same public-school system lacking community resources like I did," explains Jasmine, the founder and CEO of Jesus People Elite Enterprise (JPElite). "If I can get through years of studying English, then anyone can do anything."

Jasmine's determination to improve the world is why she opened her own fitness center, works as a certified personal trainer and helps women/youth throughout her community in managing their health and wellness.

In the future, Jasmine hopes to pair her love of physical activity with her admiration for teaching. As a future special education English educator, who is currently pursuing a master's in public administration, Jasmine wants to use JP Elite to establish a community center and provide students and families with learning outside of the classroom.

"The education system that we live in is too standardized and not much has changed over the years," says Jasmine. "Learning is different now and I want students to know that instruction doesn't just have to occur in a classroom, it can be through sports or community activities as well."