Lotticia Shefferson: Connecting youth to ‘be their best selves’

Discovery Place

Lotticia Shefferson has a real passion for helping young people. She strongly believes that, given the opportunity, everybody can be great. “With the right energy and support, you open kids up to accomplishing whatever they want,” she says.

As the Manager of Youth Development at Discovery Place since 2018, Lotticia serves as that energy and support for approximately 150 teens each year in various volunteer programs as well as internships and other youth-related activities within the organization.

In her role, she provides equitable STEM workforce opportunities for students in the Charlotte community and beyond. But she doesn’t stop there. A former 9th grade English teacher at West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, Lotticia also focuses on teaching kids the life skills they don’t necessarily learn in the classroom.

“Schools are limited on the opportunities they can provide for all students, and those opportunities are different depending on what school you go to,” she says. “So, working with the youth at Discovery Place, I want to be sure they are developing those fundamental soft skills that will help them later in life. We work on providing them with the exposure and access to experiences that introduces new skill sets while enhancing others. The ultimate goal is to prepare them for their post-secondary aspirations.”

Because of her dedication to ensuring youth are afforded equal opportunities, Lotticia continues to volunteer at West Mecklenburg High School, where she has trained students to be junior life coaches and serves as the Education Committee chairperson for the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance Advisory Board.

“I try to see the potential in everybody,” she says.

Originally from Burlington, North Carolina, Lotticia graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a bachelor’s degree in speech. She is trained in meditation and mindfulness, and specializes in life coaching, especially with the aid of visual boards.

“If we don’t see our goals in front of us, they don’t happen,” she says.

No surprise, Lotticia is also an artist. She uses mixed media to create artwork that she says is representative of who she is as a person. Her latest project is a canvas piece made from African wax fabrics. She also recently created a piece of art out of some her favorite old CDs, turning them into the afro atop a woman’s head.

Whether it is at home or at work, Lotticia says her goal in life is ultimately about creating a connection.

“Working with teens is kind of my fountain of youth because I have to stay aware of what they are listening to and watching, the challenges they are facing and the big issues of their generation,” Lotticia says. “Staying connected is the only way I can make a difference. The goal here is to create these connections and provide them with the tools they need to be their best selves.”

For more about youth programs at Discovery Place, click here.

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