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As we continue to recognize the consistent support needed to encourage youth to explore their dreams and interests, we find West Volusia with many students who are taking flight in the world of entrepreneurship.

Chandler Jamal Powers is one of those students who has turned his passion for creating things into a new business: Chan’s Customs.

Powers is known for his creativity in customizing shoes and cleats, a talent he was able to unfold after watching YouTube and honing his craft.

He first gained interest from others after wearing his own designs at school.

“I’ve been customizing shoes for a little over two years now. I customize shoes, cleats, shirts, handbags — just about anything you can think of,” Powers said.

He is in the ninth grade at University High School in Orange City, where he is an avid football player and honor-roll student.

From the age of 5, Chandler has played football, which led him to be a starting running back for University High in his freshman year, and to win Rookie of the Year.

“He’s always been a very hard worker, often spent hours with me after school while I worked on lesson planning, and he was always creative, cutting, gluing and sticking stuff together to see what he could make,” said his mother, Jennifer Diallo. “His aunt Judy Turner purchased his first Cricut machine he used for his creations.”

As far as academics are concerned, Powers is in several honors classes, and has an unweighted 3.8 GPA and a 4.17 weighted GPA. He earned a 1,280 on the PSAT.

He has earned many trophies for academics and athletics.

“My lifelong goal has always been to be an NFL football player, but I know that’s not always possible. My backup plan would be in digital arts and media,” Powers said.

He is also a volunteer youth coach for flag football and girls’ powderpuff football, and has logged more than 40 volunteer hours as a freshman.

Not only is he able to balance academics and athletics, but he has now added entrepreneurship to his résumé.

Powers was raised to put family first. His mother, a single mother and educator for 19 years, ensured that her son had positive role models in his life, such as his Pop Warner, Amateur Athletic Association and University High School coaches Joe DeSousa, Derrick Jones-Nelson, Theory Haywood, James Ross, Jimmy Douglas, Shawn Lingard, Brian Kells, Justin Roberts, Doug Hood and Matthew Trumbley.

Additional role models are Powers’ older brother, Cameron Myles, and his maternal grandparents.

Powers also credits many teachers over the years who played an instrumental part in his life, including Judy Brule, Debbie Johnson, Litsa Taylor and Kyle Dowdell.

Powers will be a guest speaker at the upcoming iRise 2 STEM 2019 Career Retreat in Daytona Beach, set for March 19-23, and will be a guest speaker for Saturday Seminars April 6 in DeLand.

If you are interested in learning more about Chan’s Customs, follow Powers on Instagram at Chans_customs2 or email him at chandleraman@icloud.com.

— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send her email at cameronchronicleslive@gmail.com.

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