From Houston's airwaves to changing lives: Former radio DJ making impact on young women

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Radio DJ turns in the airwaves to make an impact on young women. (KTRK)

One of the most beloved radio personalities on Houston's 97.9 The Box made waves last month when she suddenly quit her job.

JJ Simmons, also known as JJ on the Mic, left her six figure job to run her foundation full-time. Her goal is to help at-risk girls to see the better version of themselves.

A panic attack live on the air landed Simmons in the hospital.

"When I got out of the hospital, the thought of going back to work made me feel like I couldn't breathe," Simmons said. "Then the next thing you know, I'm crying and then my chest starts hurting. And I'm like I can't do this anymore."

So last month, she quit.

"I'm confident about the decision I made," she said. "I don't regret that at all. I know I have a bigger purpose in the world. But I'm just nervous because I don't know what's coming. And I have a feeling it's going to be bigger than what I expected."

She now runs the I'm Me Foundation that she started in 2010 full-time.

Simmons and a team of volunteers take "JJ's I'm Me" Tour to middle and high schools around Houston to build self-esteem and character.

"There's a lot of self-esteem and character building. It's a seven week program. We touch on everything you could possibly think of: beauty and style, health and etiquette, goal-setting, cooking, robotics. We have everything in the program."

Monday was the end of the tour at Christa McAuliffe Middle in Missouri City.

"It's shown me how to prepare myself for things in life that aren't going to be as easy as I thought they'd be," said seventh-grader and aspiring Olympian Alisha Karriem.

"It's made me have more confidence in myself," explained aspiring OBGYN Shaniya Mitchell. "I do consider myself a queen. I'm fabulous. I will achieve my goal. I want to be a billionaire. I will be the best."

"I'm in middle school. That's the time when you want everybody to like you. But I just really changed as a person to just not worry about what other people say about me," added eighth-grader and aspiring attorney Journee Collins.

Simmons hopes all 40-plus girls from this school, and all the girls she'll work with walk away better than they walked in.

"They have to believe that they are great, and that they have the opportunity to make a change in this world, and we need them," Simmons said. "They matter. I quit my job so I could let these girls know they matter."

She believes building these girls up will create more role models for the girls who will come after them, like her own daughter.

"This right here, it's work. But I love it because I know the impact it has on the other side," Simmons added.

She is planning to expand "JJ's I'm Me" Tour to college campuses. For more information on JJ and the foundation, check out the foundation's website.

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