Shambrishia Jones appreciates her family more than words can say. She knows what a blessing they are, because she knows what it is like to be separated from your family and not have a place to call home.
Born to parents who were too young to care for her, she spent the first few years of her life with her grandparents. After five years, they decided it was time for her parents to be responsible for her and her three siblings. Her mom and dad struggled to provide any stability. She remembers, “we moved around a lot, living at homes of my aunts and uncles and with people we did not know. We lived in cars at times and were always going to lots of parties.”
In 1990, nine-year-old Shambrishia, her sister and brothers were placed in foster care. While she admits foster care may have taken her out of a dangerous situation, it also struggled to provide stability. None of the homes could accommodate her whole family, so she kept being separated from her sister and brothers. “All the foster homes that we stayed in were short term — some were for a year, for others it was only months until we had to move to a different (foster) home and begin again,” said Shambrishia.
Six years and six different foster homes later, her case worker came to her with the news she had been waiting so long to hear. She had finally found her a place where she and her sister, Yoshi, could be together until they were grown. That place was Show-Me Christian Youth Home. “When I first came to Show-Me I was scared, but also happy. I didn’t know where I was going to be or who I was going to live with, but I knew at least I was going to live with my sister.”
Shambrishia joined the Chaney family in Camdenton. “I finally had a safe, secure and stable, long-term home,” she recounts. After a year that stable home grew into a life-long family when Shambrishia and Yoshi were adopted by the Chaney family. “Not only did Show-Me allow me to be a part of the Show -Me family, they also gave me a loving, caring, patient, understanding family to call my own.”
After graduating from high school, Shambrishia attended Ozark Christian College, and then returned to Show-Me to provide daycare for the little ones and serve as a relief houseparent. Miss Brishia is still remembered for her big smile, contagious laughter, joyful spirit, and a hug for all the children that spent time in her home. “I wanted to show each of these kids the love of God just as I experienced it growing up here,” she said.
In 2008, God spread that love across the United States when she married Derrick Jones and moved to Maryland to start a family of her own. Their family grew and now includes a daughter, Alayna. Miss Brishia continues to help children at a local public school as an Additional Adult Assistant for children with autism.
“I learned from Show-Me how to be patient with people and make sure I show them that I care about them,” said Shambrishia. “What impacted me the most was the love that Show-Me has for each child no matter where you came from, what brought you to Show-Me, your race or disability. Show-Me accepted me and showed me love — God’s love. As a child that made me feel safe, secure and stable. It showed me that everything was going to be okay. That is what I needed.”
“Show-Me accepted me and showed me love – God’s Love. As a child, that made me feel safe, secure and stable. It showed me that everything was going to be okay. That is what I needed.”