As the Girls House Director at Shelterwood, Jessyca Pierre ensures that life at Shelterwood goes smoothly for its teenage residents. From overseeing residential staff, to juggling logistics, to finding time to sit down for a game of cards with the teens, Jessyca supports the residential life of Shelterwood staff and girl teens.
What she loves most about Shelterwood: “My top two things I love most are, one, that Jesus is clearly here. God is clearly here. It’s so apparent that He’s here and His love, His grace, His people are here. I love that we get to show that to the kids. Second, I love the people I work with. I don’t think I would have built relationships with some of the people I’ve met, if it weren’t for Shelterwood.”
Before Shelterwood: With a bachelor’s degree in social work, Jessyca has worked in many different fields. From working as a program manager in corporate America to serving in a summer internship with kids in the low income neighborhoods of Kansas City, Jessyca gained a variety of experience in her years after college.
What brought her to Shelterwood: Jessyca was working at a corporate job that she excelled in, but it didn’t line up with her passions. She decided to pursue job opportunities where she could work with kids and families, but nothing was working out. “I told God, ‘I’m tired of getting turned down. So I’ll just wait for you to tell me when it’s time.’”
Not long after, Jessyca was at her church small group, where she unexpectedly met two Shelterwood staff members. They told her all about Shelterwood’s work and encouraged her to apply for a job.
After interviewing and meeting the Shelterwood team, Jessyca started as a residential manager in the girls house at Shelterwood in November 2015. She later applied internally for the role of Girls House Director, where she would support even more colleagues and residents. Looking back, she can see how God rewarded her for her patience — now she’s doing something she’s truly passionate about.
Day in the life: “You never know what’s going to happen, so I always come in ready for anything.” Jessyca excels in handling unexpected events, and also spends time organizing logistics and supporting staff. She loves presenting new ideas and keeping in touch with her staff through regular one-on-one check-ins.
When she was a teen: Jessyca describes herself as a quiet teenager who loved academics. Born in Haiti and relocating to the U.S. with her mom and siblings at age 3, Jessyca grew up amidst the Haitian community in Kansas City. Bilingual and of many cultures, by the time she was a teen she had an interesting perspective on life. She describes those years as being both friends with everyone, but not feeling like she truly belonged with anyone.
Family: As one of the eldest of her siblings, Jessyca spent a lot of years caring for her young brothers and sisters as they adjusted to life in the U.S., and supporting them as her family went through ups and downs. Today, she’s still close with her mom and continues to be supportive of her siblings, near and far. She enjoys time spent with her Grandma, too, who was able to join the family in Kansas City from Haiti in 2009.
Outside of Shelterwood: Because her job is so people oriented, Jessyca, an introvert, enjoys time recharging on her own when she’s home. She’ll treat herself to a manicure or have a movie night, sometimes with friends, sometimes without. She’s a self-proclaimed repeat movie watcher, watching some of her favorites over and over and enjoying every moment.
Best part of her role at Shelterwood: “I talk to every department and get to know people from every part of Shelterwood. If it wasn’t for my role, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get to know as many people and find friends from so many different places.”
Learn more about life on campus at Shelterwood.