Shimaya Jones: Leading by Example, Striving to Make Change While Sharing Her Journey

Determined, dedicated, hardworking and fearless are just some of the words that come to mind in speaking and learning more about Shimaya Jones.

In her current role as a Housing First Manager at the Covenant House, Shimaya works to help individuals obtain permanent housing and break down barriers that might include mental and substance abuse issues. She spends time helping them navigate housing chores, apply for jobs, and become self-sufficient. Shimaya started this job a little over three years ago and everyday looks forward to helping individuals make positive changes in their lives. Her passion for work is delivered through her work ethic and desire to do more. Shimaya’s ability to relate and share personal experiences continues to mold her success in this role.

She not only does this job full time but holds a part-time job at the Alicia McCormick Homes. Her drive and passion are to give back to those that helped along her journey. Shimaya knows that without the programs at the YWCA and the individuals at the Alicia McCormick Homes, she would not be where she is today.

We joked about spare time because of her dedication to work and carrying the load of two jobs. Much of her free time is spent with family, whether it’s grabbing dinner with her sister and mom, or having her nieces and nephews over to hang out. Family is the core of who she is and her time with them is something deeply cherished. Her grandmother helped to mold Shimaya into the person she is today. She is Shimaya’s biggest champion and greatest inspiration. Her mother instilled hard work and a “never give-up attitude”.

Shimaya is not done yet! She has so much more to do and achieve. Furthering her education is a priority. She would like to gain additional knowledge and resources that will help her clients and expand programming.

Homeownership and having a place to call her own is extremely important to Shimaya. Often times, while growing up, her family worried about being evicted and becoming homeless. She shared “I do not want to feel that again.” Shimaya could not stress enough the importance of having a home to truly call her own.

Shimaya’s journey had many challenges, yet that did not stop her from achieving her goals. When faced with adversity, Shimaya turned those challenges into opportunities, personal success stories and some of her greatest accomplishments. When asked what it means to receive the YWCA Empowerment Award, Shimaya shared, “It means a lot, very surprised and honored to be thought of and very humbled to be in the company of the women being honored and past honorees. I am forever grateful for the award! The YWCA shaped my young adult life and helped with some of my successes."

Shimaya truly embodies the meaning of the Empowerment Award. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn more about Shimaya and her journey.

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