Featured Title IX Profile
Tiani Shoemaker Clyde
Berthoud High Graduate (1992)
In eighth grade, Tiani Shoemaker Clyde attended an event for Brigham Young University and set goals for her future that she would work toward for her entire high school career. She had been playing basketball since elementary school, and after meeting some BYU basketball representatives, Tiani began telling anyone who would listen that she was going to play basketball for the BYU team one day.
At Berthoud High School, Tiani was a starting varsity player as a freshman, and in her senior year, BHS won its first girls’ basketball championship in the school’s history. Tiani’s extraordinary talent for basketball earned her a full-ride Division I scholarship to her dream school, but the transition wasn’t easy.
“Berthoud was a very small school, and I was used to being the star,” Tiani recalls. “BYU was not only a huge Division I school, but they didn’t really know me or recruit me. From day one, I was just trying to earn my place, to prove that I belonged there.”
Tiani even remembers a time when BYU came to Fort Collins to play the CSU team. “I was a hometown hero, so everybody came to the game. They were chanting for me, and my coach never put me in for the game.” Tiani says she realized then that being successful on the BYU team was going to come with a lot of hard lessons.
“I didn’t think they really wanted me there at first,” she says. “I realized, there’s something else to learn here. Things got better and better. I was never the star, and we never had an amazingly successful season, but my college memories and the things I learned from basketball are so much bigger than even a college degree.”
Tiani played basketball for BYU for four years and graduated with a degree in fashion merchandising. She married the BYU football quarterback and they had three children, but after 10 years, the couple divorced, and Tiani found herself the single mother to three young children. Without any specific plans, she drew on some of the lessons she learned as an athlete and forged ahead.
“This was not at all what I had pictured, but little by little, day by day, I kind of got by by the skin of my teeth,” she says. Tiani got a real estate license, and was a working single mom for over 12 years. It was during this challenging time that Tiani realized her calling was to help those who found themselves in the same position she had been in herself.
“I felt really strongly about wanting to do something to give back,” she says. Tiani started Little Miracles Foundation, which focused on helping single-mom families with small tasks such as laundry and cleaning. “It’s given me such a purpose. People need community and to know they’re not alone. In my time here, I’m going to use my story to help other people.”
Since then, Tiani’s small foundation has grown, and was even featured on the Mike Rowe Facebook series “Returning the Favor.” Tiani has remarried and continues to work as a real estate agent. She is also committed to her non-profit, which has expanded to helping out in several areas, including large-scale projects to help single moms fix up their houses. The foundation has involved thousands of volunteers and has served hundreds of families.
Her two sons, who were also state champion athletes, have graduated high school, and Tiani also has a young daughter she hopes will be afforded many of the opportunities Tiani has had herself. She says it wasn’t until she was an adult that she realized the role Title IX played in her success.
“I didn’t grasp until even recently how important it was,” she says. “I always felt pretty empowered, but I know not all kids do. A lot of it was my parents, my coaches. The lessons I learned from sports are equally, if not more important, for girls to be learning than boys. There’s a lot of moms out there carrying all the weight, filling multiple roles.”
Tiani explains that many of the same important values she learned years ago as an athlete are what pave the way for girls and women to succeed.
“At the end of the day, we are building humans,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities that weren’t always available to women, and had they not been available to me, a lot of the other opportunities I’ve had wouldn’t have happened either.”