In 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a reform for the criminal justice system. This sparked a host of meetings to discuss realigning local programs, such as the Liberty County Re-entry Coalition, with the state’s reform.
One person who voluntarily attended these meetings out of interest was Daisy Jones, the former Hinesville Home Prevention Program coordinator. Many of her homeless clients were stuck in the cycle of incarceration, being released from prison only to be incarcerated again.
After showing her interest and passion for those in need, Jones was asked to lead in the development of a re-entry committee for Liberty County. As chairwoman, she aims to fulfill the coalition’s mission of reintegrating released prisoners into society by decreasing recidivism and helping them become productive citizens.
“I never thought I would be where I am today, but I have a passion for nonprofits and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else,” she said.
Originally from Florida, Jones graduated from Florida A&M University and enlisted in the Army as an officer. In 2004, she retired as a lieutenant colonel at Fort Stewart and decided to call Liberty County home.
She continued working as an executive administrator for Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church under Bishop M.L. Jackson. With more time on her hands, Jones began volunteering outside of church, where she fell in love with nonprofit organizations.
“I enjoyed working at my church, but I wanted to do more and to be available to help people,” she said.
When the city of Hinesville announced that it as looking for a Homeless Prevention Program coordinator, Jones knew it was the job for her. After the application process, interviewees were required to take an exam. Out of 60 other applicants, she scored in the top 10 percent and was hired.
During the five years she worked for the city, Jones went through a transformation. She returned to school to receive a master’s degree in management and leadership from Webster University, and used these skills to manage the several homeless cases that were handed to her.
She spent most of her time helping, caring and making decisions for other people. If the program ran out of certain resources, instead of turning down people, she called other organizations to ask for help and donations.
“I had to learn empathy and the power of kindness,” Jones said. “I would do and give anything I can if asked, regardless if I had it. Even a smile is valuable to someone when they are struggling.”
Now, Jones works at Winn Army Community Hospital as the Child Family Behavioral Health Clinic coordinator. In this position, she works with several community organizations to provide resources for patients.
Outside of her salaried position, Jones fulfills the role of Liberty County Re-entry Coalition chairwoman. At the beginning of her involvement, the coalition met monthly at several locations and completed assignments that did not require a central office.
For the last two months, the coalition has had an office in downtown Hinesville, near other government buildings. Several local organizations donated furniture, computers and office supplies, which made it possible to provide several services in areas such as counseling, housing and employment.
Anyone who has been incarcerated may contact the Re-entry Coalition for help reintegrating into and rebuilding their lives. Those who want to help the organization may volunteer their time or donate in any form.
Spare time is not in abundant supply for Jones, as she also is chairwoman of another nonprofit organization, Community of Inspired Women. CIW’s mission is to get women from where they are to where they want to be. Organization members aim to inspire and be inspired using programming, events and a network of women committed to change.
“The merging of women is powerful,” she said. “What we can do as women in the community is to reinforce self-sufficiency and to inspire change. We can do all kinds of things, but inspiration will stick on the inside.”
Whether it is through the Re-entry Coalition or CIW, Jones continues to spread her passion of volunteering to everyone she meets. She predicts her future will always involve nonprofits.
For more information on the Liberty County Re-entry Coalition, go to www.libertyreentry.org or call 912-877-5293. For more on the Community of Inspired Women, go to www.communityofinspiredwomen.org.