Meet Khira Martinez Jimenez

TipsFromTown has been talking to some of New Jersey’s young, ambitious college students who are looking for summer employment. This week, we spoke to Khira Jimenez in Bergen County.

20 year old Khira Martinez Jimenez is one of five children in the Jimenez family. She grew up taking care of—and loving–her siblings and cousins in her close-knit Colombian family. Growing up, she was surrounded by creative spirits: her mom is an actress and her uncle and brother are artists. But Khira realized early on that she had a calling to help people.

It started with becoming a Big Sister in 10th grade through the non-profit organization, Big Brothers and Sisters of America. “It was an amazing experience” Khira explains. She became interested in it because of her own personal experience. “I was one of those kids who had to stay in school to wait for my parents to get out of work, especially after they got divorced.” She remembered having a feeling of loneliness during that time and wishing she had an older sibling at her side to protect her.

“I think at that time, I would have enjoyed having a “sibling” to accompany me; help me finish homework; or play with me.” So when she found out about Big Sisters, she knew it was something she had to do. At the time, she was doing it to give something back to her community. But as her relationship with her little sister grew, she realized how much she had gained from the experience as well. Volunteering gave Khira the chance to mentor someone younger and give them the confidence to pursue their dream—just like she is.

“I always wanted to study medicine when I was younger but I never knew exactly what I wanted to study.” She always had a nurturing spirit and developed a fascination with people and what makes them tick. Her guidance counselor suggested that she researching careers in psychology.

“Two people inspired as a student: social worker Joseph Skunca and my high school guidance counselor Mr. C. I always knew I was going to be in the medical field but I wasn’t always quite sure how I wanted to help people. I spent a lot of time with both of them observing and assisting when they needed an extra hand.” These two mentors recognized  Khira’s innate sense of compassion and her ability to work with people. “They advised me to use my natural social skills and look into the field of psych.”

Currently, Khira is enrolled at Bergen Community College and is majoring in psychology, a profession that will allow her to be a nurturer and adviser. “I’m the first in my family to pursue a career in the medical field so my family has been very supportive. My little sister looks up to me and always says she wants to be a doctor too just like me. I think this is so beautiful.” She is most interested in forensic psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry.

Khira received the first scholarship from QuadJob. Here she is with QuadJob owner, Heidi Ferro.

Although she travels back to Colombia each year to visit extended family, she and her family call Ridgefield their “home.” “I love the tranquility in my town,” she told TipsFromTown. “It’s a very family-oriented, friendly community. Everyone is always working to make it a better, safer, and cleaner place.”

Besides her volunteering as a Big Sister, she also managed to squeeze in time helping out at a local animal hospital.

Her biggest goal for the summer is to make money to put towards tuition—and she is available for hire! “I love babysitting! I absolutely love spending time with kids and encouraging their creativity. I especially love cooking, baking and coming up with fun academic games for them to play!” You can see Khira’s work proifle on QuadJobs. Besides her love of kids, she drives and can even start dinner for you. I can’t think of a better, sweeter, more qualified person to hire!

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."